Why Care about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
I need protection from my indoor air? Are you kidding me? I clean my house everyday!"
If that sounds like you, then the answer is "Yes." Even if that doesn't sound like you, the answer is still," Yes."
Seriously, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that indoor air is 2-5 times more contaminated than outdoor air. But why and what can you do about it? First, the reason why is because household cleaners are one of the main sources of indoor pollutants. But even if you're not big on cleaning, you're still exposed. Our homes are made of materials that release 100's of different chemical compunds. Products as common as carpeting, particle board and plywood release the known carcinogen formaldehyde. When you're inside, that air is pretty much trapped.
The results are felt everyday. An estimated 50 million people in the US suffer from allergies and asthma. Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic illness, irritants from household chemicals and other allergens interfere with your sleep, disturb your mood, zap your energy and cause periodic headaches and sore throats. All of this is linked to pollutants such as mold, viruses, dust and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Still not convinced? Then think about your wallet.
Indoor air quality is impacted by the level of moisture in the air, also known as humidity. A sure-fire way to cut air conditioning and heating bills is to maintain optimal relative humidity in your home. Relative humidity should range from 30% to 55%, depending on the season and outside temperature. Dehumidifiers can be seamlessly integrated into your central air conditioning system for a whole house solution.
Maintaining recommended air moisture levels will also extend the lifespan of furniture, drapery and other décor. Comfortable humidity levels prevent dry skin and static electricty. Static electricity, which stems from too little humidity, is not just bothersome, it also creates unsanitary conditions by causing dust and dirt to cling to objects. It can also result in long-term damage to building construction. On the other extreme, high humidity is a great environment for the growth of harmful microscopic organisims like bacteria and mold. Dust mites thrive in moist conditions too!
IAQ technology varies in cost, effectiveness and application. Central air whole house and building systems circulate treated air through your central duct system. Choices include air cleaners, dehumidification and humidification systems and ventilators (Energy Recovery Ventilators and Heat Recovery Ventilators). They can be installed on your air handler, furnace, in your ductwork, freestanding, ceiling or wall mounted. Along with filtration and odor-absorbing capability, central ac air purification systems are available with sterilization technology such as UV lights and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO).
Portable and one-room units are also popular and effective. Since they require no installation, save space, and can treat specific areas, many homeowners choose a combination of whole house and portable systems to clean, humidify and dehumidify their indoor air.
If you have to choose one place to double up your clean air efforts, choose the bedroom. The reasoning: We spend 90% of our lives indoors and one-third of that time in our bedroom. For example, keeping a portable air purifier in the bedroom improves sleep, can relieve chronic sickness and ailments such as headaches and asthma.
Air Purification Systems improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by:
- Removing or capturing allergens
- Protecting us from toxic airborne chemical vapors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Eliminating odors
- Providing ventilation, which involves bringing outdoor air inside
- Creating comfortable and healthy air moisture levels through dehumidification and humidification
- Killing bacteria and viruses through sterilization
In addition, to improving IAQ with technology, you can proactively improve everyone's air quality by reconsidering the cleaning products you use in your home.
View our selection of Air Purifiers, Heat Recovery Units and Energy Recovery Units. For a help choosing a portable air purifier or an air purification system for your home, visit our Buying Guide to Air Purifiers.