5 Tips for Having Quality Indoor Air

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Family relaxing in Austin, Texas

You hear about ozone action days and air pollution on the news, but have you ever stopped to think about the indoor air quality in your home? According to researchers in the Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering Program at University of Texas humans spend the majority of their lives indoors, so most of the exposure to pollutants happens indoors.

Here are some tips for keeping the air inside clean.

Prevent Mold

If you’ve ever showered immediately after an intense workout, you know how difficult it can be to dry off on a humid day… even indoors. That is a phenomenon that represents the humidity levels in your home. Mold thrives on moisture and humidity while simultaneously wreaking havoc on the health of allergy sufferers and asthmatics. For cleaner indoor air, do what you can to prevent mold. To reduce the humidity levels in your home, increase the ventilation. You can do this by running the air conditioner, but less expensive ways to do it are to run the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when showering and cooking respectively. If you see a leak or notice an area in your home that is consistently damp, find the source and get it repaired. Your lungs, and your property value, will thank you.

Change Your Filters

Changing the filter in your air conditioner on a regular basis does more than just help your AC run more efficiently. It also helps the air quality in your home. As the unit takes in air to cool, it pulls that air through the filter, giving the filter the opportunity to trap lint, dust and pet hair before it gets into the ductwork. All clean air filters are good, but not all are equal. Allergy sufferers should consider using HEPA filters to keep the smaller allergens trapped.

Have an HVAC System Maintenance Check

Excessive moisture can be caused by a dirty filter or a dirty evaporator coil. When the air flow is blocked the air is slowed down crossing the evaporator coil becoming really cold and causing excessive condensation.  If this has been happening for a long time you may see mildew or mold forming on the outside of you indoor unit.  Don’t let things get that far.  A HVAC technician can detect through diagnostic tests whether or not your evaporator coil is dirty and prevent the problem before it starts with a good evaporator coil cleaning. This is a great reason to invest in a residential maintenance plan.

Keep Pollutants Outside

According to the folks at University of Texas in Austin the air inside a building is turned over every two to three hours on average, constantly replaced by new outdoor air. They say high amounts of pollutants find their way indoors through nearly invisible cracks in a building’s seals.  Make sure that your doors and windows are well sealed.  An HVAC company can also make sure that your duct system is sealed and not pulling in dirty attic air.

Cooling and heating systems, which are the only standard ways to filter indoor air, only operate 20 to 25 percent of the time.  The only way to ensure better air quality is to keep systems operating more frequently and to use high grade air filters.  Be sure to use a high quality filter that blocks small particulate matter.  You have to run your system for the filter to do its job.

Install the Right Tools

To maintain the highest quality indoor air, use some of these tools to help you monitor and eliminate indoor pollutants.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors to ensure your family’s air safety
  • High quality AC filters
  • A programmable thermostat to keep air circulating in your home without breaking the bank
  • A properly sized air conditioner.  An oversized air conditioning system will not adequately remove humidity before reaching the desired temperature. (The EPA recommends indoor humidity levels be kept between 30 and 50 percent). When it comes to air conditioning equipment size, bigger is not better!

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