Best American Heating and Cooling

Bestamericanheatingandcooling- Improve indoor air quality in your home

How you can improve indoor air quality in your home

Improve indoor air quality in your home 
Reduce indoor allergens that can cause respiratory problems and other issues.
While the cold weather may provide air that is both refreshing and warm, your indoor environment is not as clean or free of allergens as your outdoor surroundings. Like cold weather, indoor allergies can create barriers for outdoor pollens, mold spores, and pet dander to enter and cause respiratory problems and other issues. To reduce these risks, make sure your home is clean and free of allergens, and be sure to keep your home and family safe from indoor allergens.

Late winter and early spring: this season is often too cold for open windows so while you are waiting for warmer weather, make sure you are aware of the various allergic and respiratory triggers that may be lurking in your surroundings. To help reduce exposure to allergens in your home. Take steps to make sure you are cleaning your home and keeping it clean and free of allergens.
“Most of the things that cause problems are odorless,” says Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, Associate professor of Otolaryng­ology at Harvard ­Medical School, Harvard . “So, in many cases there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.” When there are multiple allergens, the different allergic reactions that people have may also be triggered by other toxins they may be exposed to, such as pesticides or other chemicals, or even scents in the air. ‘Odorless’ allergens are those that don’t produce an allergic response in people. Common allergens include pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores. ‘

The usual sign is that the indoor air quality is worse in the winter months; hence, it indicates that perhaps there is no airflow from the outside. You might also notice that your nose is drier and more irritated in the winter months than in the summer. Allergens are things that you are exposed to every day in your environment. When you have an allergic reaction to an allergen, your body responds by producing antibodies to the allergen. The body’s immune system is designed to protect you from disease-causing organisms and toxins. Your body produces antibodies when it is exposed to something that is harmful to your body.

Improving air quality

Making an effort to improve indoor air quality to keep you and your family safe during the winter can help you avoid asthma flare-ups and allergy symptoms and keep you breathing easy through the colder months. The easiest way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate or reduce the sources of allergens and irritants.

While it’s probably not possible to eliminate all the allergens inside your home, you can reduce the number of allergens and your exposure to these allergens by making some simple changes.Here are several strategies you can incorporate into your home to improve air quality and hopefully improve your allergy symptoms.
Keep it clean

“Dr. BuSaba says, A clean house may be a healthier house, because good indoor hygiene can greatly cut down on dust and animal dander. “The cleaning efforts that you undertake should focus on strategies to reduce the buildup of pet dander, mold, and dust throughout your home. Focus on the following:

  • Vacuuming and caring for carpets and rugs once a week usually means going through the same procedure as with carpet cleaners and vacuums: only once a week, perform the task and wash it off. Make sure to clean all surfaces that come in contact with your pets. A good carpet cleaner can make your carpet look and feel great again.
  • Regularly cleaning bedding, drapes, and other items that tend to attract allergens, especially if you have pets. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends washing in water that is at least 130° F. Also consider using dust mite proof covers on pillows, as well as mattresses and box springs, whenever possible.
  • Clearing clutter prevents dust from damaging furniture and household items.
Keep the greenery outdoors. In­door plants are pretty but they can also trap allergens. So, if you’re experiencing odor issues, sticking to your in­door plants will help keep you safe, Says Dr. SuBaba.
Some plants are touted as helping to improve indoor air quality because they release oxygen and trap & release carbon dioxide, but they are still allergy triggers for many people.”On balance, they create more problems than they help,” he says.
Improved Ventilation
Another approach to increasing the concentration of indoor air pollutants is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming inside your house.
Most home heating and cooling systems, including constrained air heating systems, don’t precisely carry outside air into the house. Opening windows and doors, working window or upper room fans, when the weather conditions allows, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open expands the outside ventilation rate. Local washroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is found and likewise increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.

Picking up with some of these steps, even though daily activities may be generating high levels of pollutants, cleaning and maintenance may put you into contact with volatile organic compounds, and so forth.Maybe you can also do some of these activities outdoors if it’s more comfortable.

Advances in design of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems which bring outdoor air into the home. As these designs become more compact and efficient, the design community has started using mechanical systems for improving their energy efficiency, which helps to keep a consistent indoor temperature and humidity level. These mechanical systems, which include forced air heating and cooling systems, can be very effective in improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the new homes that are being built today.
Ventilation and shading: a combination of ventilation and shading can help control indoor temperatures. Ventilation also helps to dilute indoor airborne pollutants which is coming from indoor sources. Organic pollutants can also be minimized or removed by ventilating in the shade or under the roof of a building. In many cases, ventilation can be combined with shading. Shading can be provided by using a screen or curtain that blocks the direct sunlight. Shading is also used to reduce solar heat gain in the summer. Awnings, blinds, and other coverings can provide shading in the summer and can be used in combination with ventilation to control indoor temperatures in the winter.

Recent developments in outdoor air quality have been demonstrated by the introduction of outdoor air where pollution levels are still relatively high. Air may enter a home in several different ways. Including:

  • through natural ventilation, such as through windows and doors, by air leaks, and by infiltration through cracks and other openings.
  • through mechanical means, such as through outdoor air intakes associated with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, or through a dedicated vent.
  • through infiltration, a process by which outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, and around windows and doors, in the attic or on the roof.
Infiltration occurs in all homes to a similar extent.
Natural ventilation describes a combination of factors that all help moderate the room air temperature: warmth of the room, room air ventilation, quiet, natural ventilation, and continuous windows and doors.

Natural ventilation can also improve your indoor air quality by reducing the pollutants that are indoors. Examples of natural ventilation are:

  • opening windows and doors
  • window shading such as closing the blinds
The majority of forced air heating systems and air-conditioning systems rely upon forced air infiltration and natural ventilation to bring outdoor air into the house. A range of advanced designs are starting to add mechanical features that bring indoor air to the home through the HVAC system. Some of these designs include energy efficient heat recovery vents to mitigate the cost of cooling and heating this air during the summer and winter months.
Air Cleaners

Some air cleaners are highly effective at quite a few types of gaseous pollutants, including the soot and ash particles often found in the atmosphere. Some of these air cleaners are powered by an internal processor, thus making their operation responsive to automatic or programming changes in home electrical power or sunlight availability. Other air cleaners are powered by a natural energy source such as wind, solar energy, or hydroelectricity. Some of these devices also contain a particulate filter to further reduce the size of particles before they are blown into the air stream. These particulate filters are made from either glass or metal. The glass variety may be made from synthetic materials such as Pyrex or polycarbon. The metal variety is usually made from stainless steel or aluminum.
The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it filters pollutants over the air flow (expressed as a percentage of the pollutants collected) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute). The more pollutants it removes, the better the air cleaner will perform. However, a better air cleaner will have a higher purchase price than an air cleaner that does not filter as well.
A very efficient collector with a very low air-circulation rate will not be effective, and a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a lesser efficiency will likely be effective. The long-term performance of any air cleaner will also depend on the amount of particulate matter that is collected. If there is a high level of pollution in the home, then the air cleaner will be effective for a longer period of time. Filters and collectors should be replaced or adjusted as needed to maintain the best performance.

Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of a table-top air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Tables can be optimized for particular sources and settings of cleaning products, but their effectiveness is essentially the same every time.

Over the past several years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants may have been shown to diminish some chemicals in laboratory experiments. Currently, there is no evidence that a reasonable number of houseplants will remove significant quantities of pollutants from homes and offices. Indoor houseplants should not be over-watered because over-watering may result in the growth of bacteria which can be harmful to healthy individuals.
Change your filters

If you have a forced-air heating system, be sure to change the filters regularly, so that dust and other airborne irritants are actually being exhausted into the air before they could cause damage to your system.
Also consider having dust pulled from the ducts removed in some cases. The Environmental Protection Agency offers advice on this issue at /iaq.
Invest in an air purifier. If you’re allergic to indoor allergens and are not able to control the source of the problem — for example, you’re unwilling to give up your family pet — it may help to find a good air purifier. Placed in the most commonly used areas of the house, these devices, in particular ionic purifiers, will help capture some of the irritants that may trigger your symptoms. You’ll most likely be able to remove these allergens completely.

Also consider a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as a basement, to help prevent the growth of mold. Ensure that bathrooms, another potential source of mold, are well ventilated as well and scrub off any visible mold that collects in the shower, on fixtures, or walls.

Let the fresh air inside. Even in the cold months, open windows from time to time to allow fresh air to move in the house. Also, move possible contaminants out by using fans in the kitchen.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *