With winter just around the corner, your indoor air quality could suffer when you close up your home for cold weather. However, you can improve it by identifying the sources of air contaminants, taking steps to avoid the offending products and cleaning the air using proper filtration.
Sources of indoor air pollution:
- Radon. This naturally occurring gas can seep into homes through the slab underlying the house. The only way you can learn if your home has unhealthy levels of this toxic gas is to use testing kits that the state of California supplies inexpensively. Radon is second only to smoking as a cause of lung cancer, so testing your home is the first step in dealing with this dangerous gas. Methods are available to vent the soil below ground or inside your home to lower the concentration of radon.
- Mold. Mold grows year-round when homes have too much humidity or plumbing leaks. Mold spores are ever-present, and an overgrowth of mold can damage your home and even make it unfit for occupancy.
- Household chemicals. Cleaning chemicals, new carpeting, paint, furniture and even shower curtains can reduce indoor air quality because they send off gases as they cure. Some finishes carry volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are respiratory irritants. Before buying something new, check the label to verify that it has low VOCs.
- Dust, pollen, dust mites and dander. In our region, each of these reduces indoor air quality year-round.
- Combustion gases. The most toxic is carbon monoxide (CO), the result of incomplete combustion. A CO detector goes a long way toward protecting you from this fatal gas, as does annual furnace maintenance and duct sealing.
The easiest way to deal with airborne pollutants is to use an air filtration system as part of forced-air HVAC equipment. When the air handler runs, the air passes through specialized filters that trap tiny particulates.
Upgrading your HVAC system and filters to improve indoor air quality is something that should be done with the assistance of an HVAC specialist. If you’d like to learn more, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’ve provided quality HVAC services to Central Californians for nearly 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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