Indoor air quality (or IAQ for short) refers to the air quality within and around structures and buildings. IAQ is commonly affected by:
- Mold, pet dander, viruses and dust mites
- Cleaning and personal care products
- Combustion products such as tobacco smoke, gas, fireplaces and more
- Building materials such as carpet, cabinetry, insulation and more
Poor indoor air quality is commonly associated with symptoms such as:
- Irritation of the nose, eyes, lungs, and throat
- Respiratory disease
Exposure to some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can cause immediate death.
To improve indoor air quality, Take these 3 Steps
1.) Eliminate the individual sources of pollution and/or reduce their emissions. Certain sources, such as gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the number of emissions. Other sources (such as asbestos) can be enclosed or sealed.
2.) Inadequate ventilation is a common reason for low indoor air quality. Opening the doors and windows (when the weather permits) is a good way to increase ventilation in your home. For allergy sufferers, it is best to check the pollen level before doing so.
3.) Replace your furnace filters on a regular basis. A dirty air filter is non-effective at capturing the pollutants that may be present in your home and also decreases the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Therefore, it should be replaced every 3-4 months depending on air quality.
When replacing your air filter, it is important to know which Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Rating you are getting. Here is a chart showing what each MERV Rating removes from your home or businesses air.
Please note that for most homes, a MERV 11 is the recommended highest you would want to go. Some HVAC units cannot handle the higher MERV Ratings because of the restricted air flow.
For best practice, replace your filters every 3-4 months. However, this number can vary depending on your indoor air quality. As a general rule, check your filter once a month and if it looks dirty, then change it. If not, you can leave it in and check back again the next month.
To determine what the common culprits are for the indoor air quality in your home, use the IAQ Test Kit. This will allow you to test for the most common contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, mold, fibers, and skin cell fragments.
By pinpointing what problem you are having, you will be able to find a solution that fits your needs without wasting money on products that may or may not solve the problem.