Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality, or IAQ, refers to the quality of the air inside a building. The air quality has become a concerning issue in recent years, mainly due to the increased energy efficiency of modern homes that prevents air from escaping the interior. Many factors can affect your indoor air quality in Stuart, FL, causing discomfort and negatively impacting your health.
Pollutants, allergens and other irritants can directly impact the quality of your interior air. Some of these compounds are manmade, and some are naturally occurring.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): VOCs are organic compounds from everyday household chemicals like air fresheners, disinfectants and cleaning solutions. Many people use these solutions in the home regularly. Materials in the home can also emit VOCs, such as carpeting, paint and plastics.
- Carbon monoxide: Carbon monoxide gas forms when people burn fossil fuels; it’s odorless, tasteless and invisible. Generators, poorly functioning boilers and furnaces and idling vehicles are all potential sources of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to headaches, impaired vision and chest pains. At higher levels, it can be fatal.
- Particulate matter: Particulate matter consists of a mixture of particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air; it’s typically composed of pollen, smoke, dust or soot. These particles are usually around 10 micrometers or smaller and can cause damage to the respiratory system when inhaled. According to the EPA, common sources of indoor particulates are fireplaces and cigarette smoke.
- Radon: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has the potential to cause cancer in humans. Radon forms when radioactive elements break down in bedrock or soil and leak into a home through the foundation.
The level of humidity in a residence can be detrimental to your health and comfort, and it can also cause damage to your home or business. The EPA recommends a relative humidity level between 30% and 50%, which will lessen the chances for biological growth that can occur with high humidity.
If your humidity is under 30% relative humidity, then you can experience health issues like dry skin and eyes and dry mucous membranes. Low humidity isn’t usually a problem in Stuart, FL, but it’s still possible under the right conditions.
Newer homes are energy-efficient and reduce the amount of air that can leave or enter the home by air leakage. However, when the indoor air isn’t allowed to mix with outside air, then this lack of ventilation will allow the levels of pollutants and other irritants to accumulate over time inside the home.
Monitoring Air Quality
It’s possible and often desirable to measure the quality of your indoor air. There are many monitoring devices on the market that can detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide or radon and measure the humidity. If you suspect your home or commercial enterprise contains harmful contaminants, you may want to test for VOCs.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Fortunately, there are many methods to attain superior indoor air quality. Dehumidifiers can correct your indoor humidity levels. Adding better-performing filters to your air control system can help reduce the number of pollutants in the home.
Air purifiers can remove contaminants, and ventilation systems will increase the air circulation throughout the home by bringing in outside air. You can place ultraviolet lights in the ductwork as an excellent method to prevent biological growth elements from recirculating in the air. Many of these IAQ products are available as either portable units or as integrated devices that work in tandem with an existing heating and cooling system.
Maintaining healthy and comfortable indoor air is important to you, and we can help you achieve the highest level of indoor air quality possible. Call Stephen K. Denny, Inc., for our exceptional air quality services to put you on the path to better indoor air.
Image provided by iStock
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