How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Home12/15/2017Indoor air quality is central to the health of your family. Did you know that the air inside the average home is much more polluted than outdoor air? It is—about five times more. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental hazards. Mold, pollen, pet dander, radon and even formaldehyde are regularly found inside homes. Humidity is also a concern when it comes to indoor air quality. Air that is too humid or too dry can have ill effects on your health and damage your home. Let’s review three of the ways Beck Cohen can help you enhance the indoor air quality in your Charlottesville home. A Clean System is the First Step to Good Indoor Air Quality A dirty HVAC system can harbor and circulate allergens throughout your house. Your first line of defense is to make sure your system is kept clean and well maintained. The easiest thing you can do is assess your air filter routinely and replace it when it becomes dirty. In most homes, the air filter needs to be changed every two or three months, but Beck Cohen recommends that you check them every month—especially if you have indoor air quality concerns. Annual furnace, heat pump and/or air conditioner maintenance is beneficial, too. Your technician will confirm your system is clean and not circulating dust and debris through your Charlottesville home. Enlist the Help of an Air Purifier An air purifier can help improve indoor air quality and give some relief from seasonal and indoor allergies. For the greatest allergy control, look for an option that filters out at least 95 percent of particles as small as .3 micron (a micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter). Regardless of whether allergies are an issue with any one in your home, filtering out pollutants is significant. The EPA has stated that the long-term effects of poor indoor air quality include potentially debilitating or deadly respiratory and heart diseases and cancer (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality). A good air purifier, like the Lennox® PureAirTM, will remove 90 percent of germs and bacteria from your home—down to .01 micron. Another way an air purifier can make your home more comfortable is by reducing household odors. While not as bad as pollutants and germs, bad odors are typically unwelcome in people’s homes. Odors from things like pets, cooking, and sports gear can cause your home to smell unclean. Cleaning your air with an air purifier is a healthier way to eliminate these odors than trying to mask them. Cleaning products, air sprays and scented candles might actually pollute your indoor air more. The right air purifier will end household odors, giving you clean, healthy air. Control Humidity for Health The EPA recommends maintaining your indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. When your air is too dry it can cause health problems like upper-respiratory issues, dry throat and nose, and itchy skin. Remember that viruses generally thrive in dry air, and dry air is known to heighten symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. And, chances are high that your home’s air is too dry—the average heated home has a relative humidity between 13 and 16 percent during the winter. That’s drier than the world’s driest deserts! So what can should you do? A whole home humidifier can provide up to 50 percent more humidity than portable humidifiers. Plus, you don’t have to repeatedly adjust most models—just program in your desired humidity and you’re set. Proper humidity levels will not only help keep everyone in your home in good health, but they can help defend your home from damages caused by dry airlike shrinking and cracking wood. What’s even better is that humid air feels warmer, so with a whole home humidifier on board, you could set your thermostat a little lower to save on your utility bills without sacrificing comfort. These are just some of the ways Beck Cohen can help you improve your indoor air quality. Call us at [[phonenumber]] or arrange an appointment with us online to find out even more options.