In this day and age, we spend most of our time indoors, so it’s important to make sure that the indoor air you’re breathing in all day is of high quality. But how? Humidifiers can help increase indoor air quality by preventing overly dry air, a common occurrence during winters in Chicago homes.
A medium-efficiency furnace filter does a decent job of removing some of the pollutants from the air, but there are some contaminants residential filters can't trap. Air cleaners differ from filters in effectiveness.
Improve your indoor air quality with the right HVAC and air filtration system for your home to reduce allergy symptoms.
For any household that wants to stay healthy, an efficient air filtration and cleaning system is a must. Air filters and purification systems protect your health by removing respiratory irritants such as pollen and mold spores. High-efficiency models can also address any Chicago city smog that finds its way into your home.
The facts of indoor air pollution can sound daunting to anyone concerned about healthy air quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported testing homes where indoor air is 100 times more polluted than the air outdoors. Before you run for the door, however, realize that the actual average level of indoor pollutants is more in the range of two to five times the concentration of pollutants outdoors.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that residential homes can have some of the worst air quality of any other environment in this country. You can improve indoor air quality using specialized equipment that will remove many pollutants commonly found indoors. Before homes were built as tightly as they now are and homeowners sealed them tightly against air leaks, indoor air quality wasn't the issue that it is currently.
Because we spend so much time in enclosed environments, it is increasingly important that we take care of the indoor air quality (IAQ) where we live, work and play. Air filters in our air conditioners, furnaces and other HVAC equipment are the first and most important of the options available to keep indoor air clean and free of particulates and other contaminants. The following brief guide can help you understand the importance of indoor air quality and how to use air filters to keep IAQ at the best possible levels.
Many homes can go years without duct cleaning yet the duct system remains problem-free. In other homes, certain conditions lead to a buildup of harmful debris in the ducts within just a few years. Dust, mold, pollen and debris from household pests are all among these. In fact, Chicago's humid summers contribute to conditions that encourage mold growth.
Indoor air quality has declined over the past generation. Houses are built tighter, sealing in emissions from synthetics in building materials like composite woods, plastics, finishes, sealants, adhesives and carpets, and from cleaning, personal and craft products. These accumulate to create what some environmental experts call “chemical soup”. An EPA study indicates that air is more polluted indoors than outdoors.
Energy efficiency is extremely important during the winter months, especially in cold-climate cities like Chicago. Many newer homes have been built with an emphasis on energy efficiency, however this comes at a cost. Efficient, airtight homes often lack sufficient ventilation, which is why many homeowners turn to ventilation systems like heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs).
Mold growth not only compromises indoor air quality, it can also affect the health of your family and cause damage to your household structure. Unfortunately, winter weather conditions often provide an ideal environment for mold growth in the home. Luckily, it's not that hard to affect household conditions in a way that prevents mold growth. But first, you have to understand a little bit about mold and how it occurs.
It’s a given that improving your home’s indoor air quality will help make your environment more pleasant, but did you know it can improve your health as well?
One of the most common and deadly gases in homes is carbon monoxide (CO). It's odorless and invisible and can come from a carbon monoxide leak from indoor appliances that use combustible fuel. In our region, a lot of homes use natural gas as a heating fuel, for cooking, heating water and drying clothes.
You may have heard that you can improve the quality of your indoor air and lower your heating and cooling costs through duct cleaning. You may have good reasons to do so, but the U.S. EPA says that no evidence exists yet that cleaning your ducts can actually prevent health problems or that you'll improve your HVAC system's energy efficiency by simply having them cleaned.
The U.S. EPA reports that some of the most polluted air you breathe is right inside your home. Among the most harmful indoor-air contaminates are the volatile organic compounds that come from many of the products that you commonly buy and use. VOCs can cause a range of health symptoms ranging from throat irritation to organ damage (if exposure is prolonged and severe).
If you suffer from summer allergies, a poor indoor air environment may be at fault. In addition to common household toxins like xylene and toluene, indoor environments are rife with pollen, dust mites and mold. A tightly sealed building that lacks proper ventilation recirculates these allergy triggers, causing indoor air quality to become as much as 10 times more polluted than outside air quality.
Your home’s indoor air quality has a direct effect on your household’s health. This is the air you and your family breathe while sleeping, relaxing and working or playing inside the home. Your household spends many hours breathing this indoor air. Unlike outdoors, where mold spores, bacteria and other contaminants are diluted by fresh air, pollutants can quickly become concentrated in the confined space of the home. Controlling indoor air quality, therefore, is important. While good sanitation and the use of clean filters on your HVAC system are helpful, sometimes more is needed. One option is to have germicidal ultraviolet lights added.
Carbon monoxide, abbreviated CO, is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas released by combustion appliances, wood fires, charcoal grills, vehicles and even cigarettes. There’s no modern home that doesn’t contain combustion appliances that pose a risk if they vent improperly or malfunction in another way. That’s why it’s important to learn the dangers of CO, how to protect your family and the areas that pose a risk of leaking the gas into your home.
Ventilation is the process that allows fresh air into your home. Without it, the home's air becomes stagnant and unhealthy, full of pollutants and allergens. Properly ventilating your home provides fresh, clean air for your family while helping maximize your home energy use.
Many homes contain allergens, chemical gases and other hidden pollutants that have a direct affect on health and comfort. Indoor levels of many pollutants are often higher than outdoor levels due to the confined nature of the home. Improving your indoor air quality is one of the most important things you can do for you and your family's safety and health.