How to Keep Your Family Breathing Easy

July 23, 2014

indoor air qualityIf an imaginary factory in Ocala was sending out lung-irritating pollutants into the air, you would rightly expect authorities to force the factory to stop. You are the authority of your Ocala area home; you control its indoor air quality. You may be surprised, then, to learn that most homes have poorer indoor air quality than the outside air. Remedying your Ocala area home’s bad indoor air quality will help your whole family enjoy cleaner, purer air.

What Is Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a measure of the amount of particulates, pollutants, volatile organic compounds, gases and allergens that are in your home’s ductwork and room air. When your home’s air has too many of these irritants, you have poor IAQ.

What’s in the Air?

Lungs do a remarkable job cleaning the air we all breathe. Sometimes, though, lungs cannot keep up with the amount of hazardous matter in your home’s air:

  • Dust mites – these live on pillows, mattresses, upholstery and curtains. Their dead exoskeletons and droppings are so small and lightweight, they become airborne
  • Sand and dirt – tracked in from outside by any family member of the two-legged or four-legged variety
  • Ductwork – if your home’s ducts have never been cleaned, they are very likely full of particulates
  • Gases – from gas stoves, gas-fired water heaters, decorative stoves and fireplaces
  • Human skin cells – your family sloughs these off by the thousands; the lighter bits float in the air
  • Pets – Fuzzy and Fido shed skin cells, too, called dander
  • Household cleaning products – rich in perfumes, everything from shampoos and soaps to furniture polish give off scents and gases
  • Water vapor – especially here in Florida, humidity in the air can make life miserable
  • Allergens – anyone in your home with a sensitive or compromised respiratory system can be susceptible to airborne allergens from human-made products and Mother Nature

11 Signs of Trouble

While you do not want your family to be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” unfortunately human reactions are often the first sign of poor indoor air quality. They are not the only sign, however, as deteriorating indoor air quality also affects HVAC equipment:

  • How frequently are you changing or cleaning filters on your Ocala-area home’s furnace, air handler and central air conditioner?
  • Do you schedule annual maintenance on your complete HVAC system, including cleaning and inspection?
  • Is your HVAC system or any portion of it more than 10 years old?
  • Have your home’s ducts been cleaned?
  • Are your home’s ducts sealed against air infiltration, which draws in untreated air from attic or crawlspace?
  • Has your trustworthy HVAC technician called attention to signs of particulate damage, or said your equipment is aging prematurely?
  • Is your electricity bill climbing but you feel no cooler in summer?

Signs that will affect your family’s health include these symptoms:

  • Allergy sufferers feel worse, instead of better, for being in your home
  • Very young or very old family members are frequently sick with respiratory infections
  • After being indoors for a while, family members report headaches, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes and sinuses
  • Visible signs of mold, mildew, condensation or fine, gritty particulates appear inside your home on walls and flat surfaces

12 Remedies for Poor Indoor Air Quality

You can work with your reliable HVAC contractor to solve indoor air quality issues. Some things you can do immediately:

  • Run your central air conditioner regularly; it does a good job cleaning your air
  • Damp-mop hardwood or laminate floors frequently, at least twice a week
  • Ban smoking in your home
  • Vacuum carpets, wood floors and rugs at least three times a week
  • Reduce fabrics, such as curtains, drapes, afghans and decorative hangings
  • Change your central air conditioner’s filter every month, or clean the permanent filter just as often
  • Fight allergens by reducing the use of perfumed soaps, detergents, shampoos and cleaners
  • Ask family members and visitors to remove shoes at the door

After getting into a routine on your own, bring in the HVAC technician to make major changes:

  1. Have the ducts professionally cleaned
  2. Discuss installing a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  3. Discuss the pros and cons of deep-media filters with high MERV ratings
  4. Consider installation of dehumidification equipment

By working with your HVAC contractor, you can bring healthful, clean air into your Ocala area home and help your whole family breathe easier. To learn more about improving your home’s indoor air quality, please contact us at Sun Kool Air Conditioning, Inc.

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