How Your Indoor Air Quality Might Be Hurting Your Health
It’s summertime and we’re all so glad to be out and about. We talk about how we love summer because we can get out of the house, but the reality is, even during the summer, we spend a lot of time indoors. The EPA estimates that people spend about 90% of their time indoors, even when the weather is nice. Blame TV if you want (I usually do, even when that makes no sense), but it’s the general fact of life for most of the modern world. This can be bad because indoor locations will often have much worse air than what’s outside. But why is indoor air quality so bad?
Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Bad?
Inside your house, the air may have 2 to 5 times the concentration of pollutants than it does outside. How does this happen? The short answer is because air does not circulate as well indoors. Outside, the air is always moving, but inside it can get stuck. When the air comes in from outside, it brings the pollutants with it, but they don’t leave. They accumulate. So, when you have severe allergies, being indoors may very well be worse for you than if you were outside.
Here in Cache Valley, this can be especially bad during the Cache Valley inversion. When the cold air traps all the air pollution and causes it to sink in the valley in winter, our outdoor air quality can get as bad as some of the worst cities in the US. Now, imagine how bad the indoor air quality is if all that crap gets stuck in your house?
What can you do about it?
The Key is Good Ventilation
For older homes, getting these may require remodeling, as these kinds of designs may not have been developed when the homes were built. New homes may just need to have a few new systems installed, or just use the systems already installed better. The point is that you have to get the air in your home moving if you want it to be clean.
Are Air Purifiers Good?
There are a lot of products on the market sold as air purifiers. Do these work? That really does depend on which you go with and how your house is designed. Some air purifiers are poor quality and simply won’t catch the kinds of pollutants that cause the most problems, especially for people with serious allergies. Some even put more pollutants into the air – purifiers that use ozone are particularly bad at this. So, when purchasing an air purifier, you need to research what kinds of purifiers work the best at catching the kinds of pollutants you worry about in your area.
Keep in mind, however, that even the best air purifiers won’t do the job if your house has poor air circulation. Purifiers can work up to a point, but just like filters, they can reach saturation. There comes a point where there is just too much in the air for them to efficiently clean. So, even if you do buy air purifiers, you still need to have good ventilation. The air purifiers will help, not solve the problem.
Can Air Duct Cleaning Help?
The EPA is mum on how much air duct cleaning helps with indoor air quality. They say the evidence so far is insufficient to say one way or the other. All we can do is report what we’ve heard from our customers and they strongly approve of the job we do.
The most noticeable improvements in indoor air quality from duct cleaning tend to come from people who haven’t cleaned their ducts in a while (5 years or more), if at all. This is even more true for older homes, which lack modern air ventilation. Our system can remove built up dust and other pollutants that can irritate your sinuses and lungs. Additionally, it makes the air flow easier, so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to do its job.
Air Filters on Your Ventilation
One of the things that makes modern houses better is the air filters we can put on our vents. Good filters will keep a lot of major allergens from getting into a house. Although it won’t catch everything, it catches enough that the effects are measurable.
Just remember: filters need to be regularly changed. Eventually a filter will get so clogged with pollution that it can’t hold any more and further airflow through it will just be blowing it into your house. One way to help is to write the date you installed a new filter on your home on the filter itself and then put a reminder on your calendar. That way, when you check it, you know how long it’s been and when it needs to be changed.
Not Just An Allergy Problem
While bad indoor air quality is a major problem for people with allergies, they aren’t the only ones who need to worry about it. Recently, we had a client with no history of allergies, yet every winter, they were reporting terrible sore throats and coughing. This was because their home had poor ventilation. They hadn’t cleaned their air ducts in years, but they checked the filters somewhat regularly. The dry air mixed with the increased pollution from poor circulation was aggravating her throat and sinuses. After we cleaned out the ducts and changed their filters, she reported an immediate noticeable improvement. That’s the difference good air quality makes.
We Can Help
As a duct cleaning business, it’s our job to make sure your air ducts are blowing fresh, clean air. This is a major component of good air circulation. With good maintenance and proper filters used in modern day homes, you should get clean air and good circulation with a duct cleaning job done only every 3-5 years. For older homes that lack modern HVAC systems and duct filters, you may need more – or to upgrade your home’s ventilation system to meet modern standards.
The problem is that because this chore is such an occasional need, it’s easy to forget. Most of our customers say that they don’t even know when the last time they cleaned their ducts was. A lot of them didn’t even know duct cleaning was a thing at all. If this describes you, it’s probably time to have somebody take a look
Easy Breezy Ducts uses a vacuum cleaning system to clean the air without damaging your vents, allowing us to clean HVAC systems that harsh brushes can’t – such as flex ducts. We’ll get your ventilation system brought up to speed so you can breathe easy in your own home.
If you need a duct cleaning and you live in Cache Valley, the Bear Lake Area, Brigham City, or the surrounding areas, get in touch with us and see what we can do for you. Maybe you own rental properties in Bear Lake, or even Logan Canyon? We can do that, too! Whether it’s your own home, or an apartment or condo you rent out, make sure you have the best indoor air quality possible.