Indoor air quality is of concern to any home owner. Unsealed homes result in leakage of air which leads to higher energy use and pricey utility bills. We are affecting our indoor environment, and this is not a positive thing. By sealing our homes, we lower the exchange of air from outdoors to the indoors, a process that concentrates pollutants. Dust, pollen, tobacco smoke residue and bio aerosols like mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria, viruses, pet dander and dust mites. Also, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon dioxide are also trapped inside of our homes. Dust mites serve a purpose by consuming all the detritus such a pet dander, human skin and hair that we lose every day, but would build up if not taken care of. The dust mites take care of this for us, but in high concentrations they contribute to the suffering of the allergic and asthma suffers.
Those airborne living pollutants, bio aerosols, like molds, bacteria, virus, mildew and fungus are of concern as if they find a compatible environment they will reproduce and make many problems worse. As these are airborne, they can never be quite done away with.
An obvious solution is filtration. Filters remove many harmful pollutants that are solid particles suspended in the air. But ultraviolet light can contribute to your health as well. Many organisms are susceptible to ultraviolet light. An ultraviolet light in the return duct will kill many of the tiny organisms in the air, cost a bit to install but will run for extended periods without replacement. Another positive addition is indoor plants that remover pollutants from the air.
Types of Indoor Air Pollution
Clean duct work will prevent recirculation of pollutants trapped in the duct work. Some of the more common pollutants are:
• Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas produced by the radioactive decay of radium found in base rock even the materials that were used to build the home. Like tobacco it can cause lung cancer. Radon is a heavy gas and accumulates in low lying regions of the home and in basements.
• Molds and Allergens: moisture provides growth for molds and are circulated by the homes air conditioning as are plant pollens and pet dander. Aspergillus is a mold that can have fatal consequences for asthma sufferers and of course the elderly. Some molds contain mycotoxins can cause diseases that can lead to death in humans and animals.
• Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless gas that is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. Tobacco smoking, space heaters or defective central heating. Carbon monoxide combines with the hemoglobin of the blood, preventing oxygen uptake to the body.
• Carbon dioxide signs are headaches, drowsiness. Prolonged exposure to high concentration of CO2 can have extended health ramifications including a possible cancer connection.
• Ozone or O3 is produced from UV light, lighting and high-voltage electronic devices like air ionizers. Ozone is a high reactive oxidizer and can react with skin oils and other life produced hydrocarbons. Even ‘green’ cleaning products react with ozone producing toxic and irritating chemicals.
• Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from liquids and solids. Paints, lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, build materials and furnishings. As latex and other synthetics oxidize, they produce various unhealthy compounds. Nearly everything in the home produces VOCs at some stage. Chlorinated city water releases chloroform when heated for bathing.
• Bacteria – Legionella or Legionnaire’s Disease is a waterborne bacterium grows in slow-moving or still water. Evaporative coolers may contribute to the spread of this bacterium. The human body carries about 10 time the bacteria as we have body cells.
• If your home was built before 1975 there could be building materials that contain asbestos fibers and extended exposure to the micro fibers can cause mesothelioma and lung cancer.
• Particulates – airborne particles.
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You owe to yourself to address IAQ (indoor air quality) concerns within your home. It’s the healthy way. Air Supply Air Conditioning and Heating offer many effective solutions including air duct cleaning and installation of air cleaning products. Contact us today!