Indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air?
At one time or another, you have probably heard that indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. What’s causing that dirty air and what can we do?
Indoor air quality has a direct relationship with how energy efficient our homes have become. Modern buildings are designed to hold heat in the winter and stay cool in the summer. Ventilation systems are designed to exchange the minimum amount of air, maintaining stable indoor temperatures. While benefits of such systems include energy efficiency and lower heating and cooling costs, limiting fresh air exchange can pose significant health risks.
Individuals have varied sensitivities to air pollutants. Indoor air pollutants originate from a variety of places: carpets made with synthetic fiber, furniture treated with flame retardants, paint releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cleaning solutions, cigarette smoke, and even carbon dioxide – produced when we exhale, can build up without proper ventilation.
Some people may begin to find that performing daily activities inside a polluted building difficult. They may experience fatigue, brain fog and loss of productivity upon entering a building, but find relief after leaving and being exposed to fresh air. These are the often poorly understood symptoms of “sick building syndrome.”
The Environment Protection Agency names three strategies for improving indoor air quality: source control, ventilation improvements and air filtration.
Source control requires identifying the source of the contaminant and eliminating it. Because contaminants can range from hazardous materials to common household items, sometimes their elimination can be complicated.
Increasing ventilation can be as simple as opening doors and windows to allow fresh outdoor air to circulate. This may seem an easy option, but is not a permanent solution when you consider an arctic climate, allergens and pollutants that would then enter the home, and even privacy and safety issues. Often the installation or upgrade of an HVAC system is necessary.
Air filtration is another option.
Opening doors and windows may improve ventilation, but those who suffer from allergies will benefit from the addition of air filtration. Air filters can reduce or eliminates contaminants and allergens from the air.
Sub-optimal air quality affecting our health and the health of our families is common but preventable. There are ways to restore your home to a healthful state and remove the toxins, pollutants, offensive smells and allergens from your home.
The professionals at Moore Heating in Anchorage have over 30 years of experience and pride themselves on excellent customer service and competitive pricing.
While offering a wide range of products and services, many customers come to Moore for help improving the air quality in their home or business.
Moore recommends duct cleaning as the first step to healthy indoor air.
Duct cleaning alone can remove years of unpleasant odors, dust, bacteria, and allergens that have built up and circulate through your home.
Customers report an immediate change in the freshness of the air in their homes. Regular duct cleaning is recommended in all forced air heated homes, at an interval of two to five years. This amount of time can lead to substantial buildup which seriously impacts the air quality of the home.
Moore also recommends installing air filters in all homes that use forced air heat.
Moore Heating uses PureAir brand filters which destroy odors and VOC’s, as well as remove 99.9% of particles such as dust, mold, pet dander, and viruses.
Because homes that are boiler-heated lack air duct systems, air filtration is often non-existent – leading to poor circulation and stagnant air. Moore Heating can remedy this issue with the installation of a heat recovery ventilator. These ventilators remove stale air and replace it with fresh outdoor air, without losing heat. For those on a budget, Moore Heating has alternative solutions – such as retrofitting bathroom fans to draw fresh air into the home.
Freedman, Bill. “Indoor Air Quality.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 4th ed., vol. 3, Gale, 2008, pp. 2271-2275. Gale Virtual Reference Library, //link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2830101236/GVRL?u=mtlib_1_1123&sid=GVRL&xid=b3850996. Accessed 4 Feb. 2018.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Improving Indoor Air Quality. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/improving-indoor-air-quality. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.