There’s a lot of air pollution outside, but the air inside your home can be just as toxic. And for people who spend a significant amount of time indoors, that can be particularly dangerous.
Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions that can help you control the air quality in your home. Here are a few of them to keep in mind.
Air filtering is a home air quality solution that can reduce the concentration of particulates, bacteria and viruses. These pollutants can cause asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems.
Filters can be incorporated into your heating and cooling system (whole house filters) or portable filters with self-contained fans that can be placed in individual rooms. Typically, filters are built into the ductwork and trap particles as they pass through.
There are many kinds of filters, which can be made from a variety of materials. They are usually rated using the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, and remove dust and other small particles from your home’s air.
One popular choice is a HEPA filter, which removes 99 percent of dust, pollen, mold spores and pet dander. They cost about $150 to $1,500 and need to be replaced every year.
Another type of air filter is an electronic air cleaner, which ionizes particles and puts an electrical charge on them. This can help them stick to the aluminum collector plates that are incorporated into the filter.
In addition to removing particles, electronic filters often remove gases such as volatile organic compounds and ozone. They can also be equipped with ultraviolet filters, which can kill germs and other microorganisms.
Whole house electronic filters come in four varieties, which are grouped by the type of particle they remove. They range from inexpensive air filtration systems with a $40-to-$60 filter to more expensive models that use an electronic sensor to tell when the filter needs replacing.
They can also include an ionizer, which uses static electricity to attract particles, making the air cleaner even more effective. This is a great option for those with allergies, but it can be noisy because it takes a lot of wind to push the air through these units.
The smallest particles in the air are most harmful to human health, according to the EPA. They are called PM2.5, and the EPA recommends changing your air filters at least once a month to keep them clean.
Other ways to improve your indoor air quality include reducing or eliminating sources of pollution, such as household furnishings and specific products, and maintaining proper ventilation. In addition, a good ventilation strategy can make it easier to control humidity and odors.
Humidity control is a crucial aspect of home air quality and can help keep your indoor humidity at healthy levels. Keeping your home’s humidity at the recommended range of 30% to 50% can reduce health risks, including asthma, allergies and respiratory infections. It also helps your HVAC system work more efficiently and saves you money on your energy bills.
Maintaining the right humidity level in your home can also help prevent damage to wood and other materials in your home, especially in the summer. Mold growth, for instance, is more likely to occur when there’s too much moisture in the air.
It can also make you feel clammy and sticky, which can aggravate respiratory problems like allergies or asthma. Additionally, high humidity can contribute to the formation of condensation, which can cause damage to windows and walls.
Fortunately, there are ways to get your home’s humidity at the ideal range and maintain it year-round. These include whole house humidifiers and a variety of indoor air quality systems.
In addition to removing unwanted humidity, whole house humidifiers can increase the amount of moisture in your air, which can help improve your skin’s hydration and make you more comfortable. They can also help you sleep better, which can lead to healthier living.
The best way to keep your humidity level at the optimal range is to use a dehumidifier or humidifier that is designed specifically for your home’s unique needs. Some models can even automatically adjust the humidity in your home based on your personal preferences.
You can find a humidifier or dehumidifier that will fit your home’s needs from a variety of manufacturers, like Lennox. These can be installed into your existing HVAC system or stand-alone.
Some dehumidifiers, in particular, have a built-in fan that circulates the water vapor around the entire home. This can be very beneficial if you have a basement or another area where you don’t have airflow from a vent system.
Similarly, some air conditioners are equipped with an ERV (evaporative refrigerant vent), which can reduce the moisture levels in your home’s ductwork. However, because the ERV is only able to remove excess moisture when it is humid outside, this will not have a major impact on your humidity levels.
Ventilation is a process of getting fresh air into your home. It’s not the only way to improve air quality, but it can be an important part of a comprehensive plan to make your home healthier and more comfortable.
The goal of ventilation is to create a balance between outdoor and indoor air, removing stagnant air from your house and replacing it with fresh, filtered outside air. Replacing stale air with fresh air can help dilute indoor contaminants, such as carbon monoxide and pet dander.
You can increase your outdoor ventilation rate by opening windows and doors, running window fans or using a central heating/cooling system with a vent control open to bring in fresh air when the weather is appropriate. You can also install local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust to the outdoors, which can remove indoor pollutants from your home in addition to bringing in fresh air.
It is also recommended to replace your air filter regularly, as this will help keep the air you breathe clean and healthy. It’s easy to do and will help reduce your energy bill.
Changing your air filter can also keep allergens like dust and pollen from entering your home, which can make you feel more comfortable. It can also prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 that cause respiratory illnesses.
Another good way to get fresh air into your home is by installing a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). This system removes stale indoor air and replaces it with filtered outside air, which helps restore air quality.
A heat recovery ventilator is more effective than a fan because it uses a heat exchanger to pull in warm, humid indoor air and extract it from your home. It can also help lower energy costs by reducing your need to run your heater and air conditioner, which will save money on your utility bills over time.
If you’re looking for a home air quality solution that will not only keep your house clean, but also provide you with a comfortable and healthy place to live, consider installing an HRV or ERV. These systems are designed to remove stale indoor air and replace it with filtered air from the outside, which will help you breathe better and live longer.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an important factor for maintaining health and well-being. Depending on the source of pollutants, it can impact the lungs, cardiac and neurological systems.
Some of the most common sources of pollution are cigarette smoke, household products, building materials and outdoor pollutants that drift indoors such as car exhaust or chemical releases. Other potential contaminants include allergens, irritants and viruses.
Asthma sufferers can benefit from professional air purifiers that work to filter out allergens such as pollen, pet dander and dust mites. They also reduce odors and gaseous VOCs that may be present in the room.
Allergens can trigger a variety of symptoms including itchy eyes, nose, and throat, fatigue, sleepiness and coughing. These symptoms can become severe if allergies are chronic, and can lead to worsened respiratory conditions and asthma flare-ups.
To reduce airborne allergens, look for an air purifier with a true HEPA filter. Avoid those with “HEPA like” or “HEPA type” filters, which are less effective at capturing minute particles and may even emit ozone.
A good air purifier will have a HEPA filter that is rated to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. This is especially important for removing bacteria and viruses that can cause serious infections or affect your health.
In addition to removing airborne allergens, an air purifier can help control the presence of chemical contaminants such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia in the home. These chemicals are commonly found in cleaning products and can be a health hazard, even at low levels.
An air purifier with activated carbon can trap and cleanse these chemicals, reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other health problems. It does this by using a porous form of carbon to trap these toxic chemicals and recycle fresh air back into the room.
Other ways to improve air quality in the home include installing a heat recovery ventilator or energy-recovery ventilator that helps remove stale air and replace it with fresh outside air. These systems also help to prevent stale air buildup and eliminate mold from the home.