Have you ever walked into someone’s home and noticed an odd smell? Indoor smoking, pets who aren’t bathed by their owners, mold, dust, and other contaminants don’t only smell bad, they also have a significant effect on air quality. The same thing happens if you work in an office environment that feels stuffy and uncomfortable. While some employees may choose to remain quiet to avoid being perceived as a difficult person, the reality is that it may also have a lasting effect on you and all your coworkers.
What is indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to how the environment inside a home or commercial building can affect people’s health, comfort, and the ability to perform work duties. Some effects can be felt immediately (such as sneezing or red eyes), while others don’t develop until years later (such as asbestosis or lung cancer). The effects may also be more severe if a person has a pre-existing health condition, or is an infant or of advanced age.
What causes poor indoor air quality?
There are many factors that can have a dangerous effect on air quality:
- Excess moisture
- Improper ventilation
- Poor choice of building materials
- Accumulation of dust
- Chemicals from furniture or cleaning detergents
What are the health risks of poor indoor air quality?
Poor indoor air quality has long-term side effects, such as allergies, asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. When a person first experiences symptoms, they are typically the following:
- Sore throat
- Dry, red eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin
Often, these symptoms are brushed off as something else – the common cold, seasonal allergies, stress, or the flu. However, if you get them regularly, take note of when they start and whether they improve whenever you’re away from a specific home or building.
7 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
There are several things you can do to improve the indoor air quality in your home:
1. Change the air filter regularly: How often you do this depends on whether there are any allergy sufferers in your family, whether you have any pets, how many people live in your home, and whether anyone in your household smokes. A good guideline is anywhere between once a month to once every 90 days. Check your filter after a month to see whether it’s clogged with dirt and debris. Also keep in mind that the quality of the filter matters. HEPA filters catch pollutants that are often missed by their cheaper counterparts, such as pet dander, tobacco smoke, and dust mites.
2. Clean the AC vents. There is no specific timeframe when you should be cleaning your air conditioner’s air vents. Use your best judgment – if you see an accummulation of dust or if you’ve never cleaned them before, now would be a good time.
3. Clean the drain line regularly. Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air and moisture from your home or business, separating the water, and syphoning the condensation out through a PVC pipe called the drain line. Since this pipe is an enclosed, wet space, it’s a prime location for mold and mildew to grow. To keep this from happening, clean it regularly.
4. Install a dehumidifier. Too much humidity in your home can cause mold growth, water stains on the ceiling, make the air smell musty, and weaken your home’s structure. By installing a dehumidifier, you can reduce the dampness in your home as well as prevent dust mites from reproducing at alarming rates. Once installed, keep the humidity level at 40% during the hotter months of the year, and at 60% when it gets cold outside.
5. Clean the air ducts. Ducts are trickier to clean, since they are out of reach and you have an extremely limited space. You only need to clean them once every five years or so. You’ll know when it’s time by noticing signs around your home: air filters getting dirtier at a faster rate than usual, mold on your furnace, your home seems dustier than usual despite all of your efforts to keep it clean, or if airflow varies from room to room. Also have the ducts professionally cleaned if you’ve recently done a renovation.
6. Install a UV light. UV light technology can drastically improve your home’s IAQ. By having a UV light installed in the air handler of your air conditioning system, the ultraviolet light attacks germs and prevents them from reproducing. Once the light is placed in your system, it can kill up to 90 percent of surface microbes and can sterilize 99 percent of your system within 24 hours.
7. Schedule routine HVAC maintenance. Having your air conditioning system maintained twice a year will ensure that your AC performs at optimal levels and provides the most protection against indoor air pollutants. A technician will also be able to spot minor issues before they turn into costly problems.
AC Service in Brevard County
At Colman, we can help you with routine maintenance checks as well as troubleshooting air conditioning issues. We also have a 24/7 AC emergency line. Call us if you need assistance ASAP, or to schedule routine HVAC maintenance.
24-HR Emergency Service: (321) 269-4565