Anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma, or heart or lung conditions should be aware of the air quality present in their home environment.
It’s important to ensure that air ducts are free of pollutants such as excess dust, mold, and mildew, and that there are no tears or holes in the ducts supplying air to the home.
Air Purifiers & UV Lights
To be sure that pollutants are not affecting the quality of air in the home, many consumers use air purifiers with carbon filters to ensure that smoke, fumes, and other particles are not polluting the interior air.
There are also UV germicidal lights built into some purifiers, which can neutralize bacteria, mold, yeasts, and a number of viruses present in indoor air.
The Air Quality Index (AQI)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains an Air Quality Index (AQI) for reporting the daily air quality in the United States.
Its rating system (from 0 to 500) measures air quality with a color system denoting the level of concern for persons affected by breathing problems. Green denotes good quality air (from 0-50); yellow is moderate (51-100), orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups (101-150), red is generally unhealthy (151-200), purple is very unhealthy (201-300), and maroon is hazardous (301-500).
The Clean Air Act monitors five major pollutants:
- carbon monoxide
- sulfur dioxide
- nitrogen dioxide
The outdoor air quality can definitely affect the air we breathe, so it’s important to check the AQI in your area.
Types of Airborne Particles
Ozone and airborne particles pose the greatest health threat.
Lung disease, asthma, or allergy sufferers should check the AQI in their immediate area.
Pollutants can be dangerous to sensitive lungs as well as to older people and young children.
Fires cause particles to build up inside the home, and these particles can contain acids, chemicals, metals, or dust that can affect persons with sensitive lungs or heart conditions.
You may not be able to see these particles, but your lungs will definitely sense them.
HVAC IAQ Modifications
Heating and cooling systems with adequate filtering systems neutralize many of these pollutants, but for the ultra-sensitive, more extreme measures such as air purifiers, humidifiers, and germicidal systems may be necessary.
Modifying the ductwork in your heating or cooling system to incorporate HEPA filters will eliminate dust and dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, anthrax spores, gases, asbestos other allergens from the indoor air.
Carbon filters eliminate smoke, fumes, and odors that may irritate sensitive nasal passages and lungs.
It is also important to take measures to protect those residing in your home by ensuring that you change the filter for your air conditioning and heating system regularly, and by installing any additional filtering or humidification systems necessary to ensure that your family is protected from serious pollutants.What is a Cold Air Return » « LifeHacks: How to Save on Your Energy Bill