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Living with Air Pollution

Pollution is all around us, and as we go about our daily lives, we are exposed to a number of environmental pollutants. Driving in cars, flying in planes, even walking down the street exposes us to risk, much of it unavoidable. What you may not realize, though, is that the air outside, even in a large, industrialized city, may not be as polluted as the air you are breathing when you are inside your home. Does that seem shocking? Consider these facts.

Facts About Indoor Air Quality

  • According to the American Lung Association, most people spend from 60 to 90 percent of their time indoors.
  • Contaminated indoor air is associated with many health issues.
  • Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates that indoor air can contain up to 70 times more hazardous pollutants than outside air.
  • Your HVAC system could be causing your indoor air pollution- research indicates that the HVAC is involved in two out of three air quality problems.
  • Asthma and allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States.
  • One in six allergy sufferers are impacted by fungi and bacteria in their air ducts.
  • Respiratory irritants in the air ducts of a home can enter the rooms through the registers.
  • Research from the Department of Consumer Affairs indicates that indoor air pollution disproportionately affects children and the elderly.
  • Sometimes, health effects of polluted air manifest after one exposure, or may not show up until long after prolonged exposure.

Improving your Indoor Air Quality

Here’s one more fact for you: you can greatly improve the quality of your indoor air by installing an indoor air quality system. In fact, this is a proven strategy that is very effective. When pollutants circulate through your HVAC system, they can damage it as well as impacting your health. The lifespan of your system can be shortened, and the bacterial and viral buildup in your HVAC system can be extremely detrimental to your health and the health of your family members. When you install an effective air quality system, you can greatly reduce the presence of airborne contaminants, improving your indoor air quality and extending the life of your HVAC.

What’s in Your Air?

The first step in understanding your air quality is determining what’s circulating through your indoor air. It doesn’t require much digging to notice if your filters are clogged more often than they should be, or your family members are suffering from respiratory issues. You know if you have pets, or if you smoke. However, some air pollutants can’t be detected without indoor air quality testing. For instance, a home air quality test can detect the presence of radon, and a carbon monoxide detector can protect you against carbon monoxide. There are tests for mold, and an indoor air quality monitor can keep you abreast of pollutants in your indoor air. So, what are some common sources of pollutants inside a house?

  • Combustion sources, like oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco
  • Building materials like insulation that contains asbestos, led paint, wet carpet, or cabinetry made of pressed wood
  • Household cleaning products, personal care products, and even carpet, paint, furniture, and mattresses that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Dust and pet dander
  • Solvents, pesticides, and other chemical products

Some of these sources of pollutants release them into the air nearly continuously. Others release high concentrations of pollutants that remain in the air for a long period of time. Determining what’s in your air is the first step, cleaning the air is the next step.

How an HVAC Company Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

When you think about your HVAC system, you are typically thinking about the temperature of your home, not your air quality. However, your HVAC company can help you take proactive steps to improve your air quality.

  • Up your filtration. You can try having your ducts cleaned to remove pollutants from your HVAC system, but it may be more effective to improve the filtration used in your system. HEPA air filters are very effective at removing allergens and irritants from your indoor air.
  • Improve your ventilation. Having a ventilator installed by an expert helps improve your indoor air, because ventilators cycle indoor and outdoor air without bringing in the outside pollutants that can get through a window screen when you open your windows. Additionally, having the right ventilation can reduce the chemicals and particulates that linger in your air, improving your indoor air quality.
  • Utilize UV light. UV lamps can be installed in your HVAC system to destroy airborne pathogens and microorganisms, reducing your risk of illness and allergies. Additionally, a UV lighting system reduces odors caused by things like tobacco, paint, and burned food. UV lights also reduce buildup in your ductwork, making it easier for your HVAC to function effectively.
  • Balance the humidity in your home. Installing a humidifier can help you keep your indoor air at the perfect humidity for breathing, which benefits your health, because dry air worsens respiratory conditions like asthma. Having a whole house humidifier installed can greatly improve your air quality, and having it regularly inspected so that you will know when it needs to be repaired or replaced can keep your air quality good for years to come.

Improve Your Air Quality with Barstow and Sons

When you’re ready to improve your indoor air quality, contact Barstow and Sons for help. We understand the importance of good indoor air quality, and we can protect you and your loved ones with solutions that include humidifiers, UV air scrubbers, improved air filtration, and ventilators. A full-service heating and cooling service company, we’ve been providing high-quality service to customers throughout Anne Arundel County, Severna Park, Pasadena, and Annapolis since 1980. We’ve built a reputation for our dedication to excellence, and we’re here for our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (410) 777-9148 to learn more or contact us through our website.

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