While most people would think twice before eating from dirty dishes or drinking impure water, surprisingly few take the steps necessary to understand the quality of the air inside their own home. Yet, indoor air pollution inside the typical American home is typically 2-10 times higher than outdoor air pollution and by some estimates is responsible for as much as 50% of all illnesses. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers indoor air pollution the number one environmental health problem in the United States.
Some facts to consider:
Recognize Your Options
The first step is to improve the quality of air inside your home is to have a professional Indoor Air Quality expert test and evaluate it. Once you have all the facts, and have discussed the finding with a professional, there are three proven means for improving your home’s Indoor Air Quality:
Know Your IAQ Systems
There are a variety of indoor air purification technologies available to the consumer. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. For this reason it is best to consult with a professional who can provide accurate testing and then recommend the most suitable air purification system, or combination of systems, for your particular indoor environment.
Some of the most common types of Indoor Air Purification technologies include:
HEPA (High Efficiency Particular Air) Filters – These powerful filters are capable of 99.7% effectiveness in eliminating allergens and most types of bacteria but will not remove gases and fumes, including those produced by cigarettes, stoves and many household cleaners.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) Lamps – long used in laboratories and hospitals for their ability to kill disease causing micro-organisms, a home UVGI light system can make a valuable contribution to increasing indoor air quality. The lights are typically placed within the HVAC system or ducts and so are not visible to the home’s occupants. While they do destroy a host of dangerous micro-organisms, UVGI systems do not actually remove particles or gases from the air and are less effective against mold and bacteria.
Ionizer Purifiers - these units use electricity to create charged ions which attach themselves to airborne pollutants which are then drawn into a charged collection plate that can be periodically cleaned. Ionizer Purifiers are available as portable units or can be permanently mounted (in which case they are called electrostatic precipitators). Disadvantages include the production of trace amounts of ozone and, in some units, a popping noise from the electrostatic charge.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers - to achieve a healthy home it is essential to maintain the proper level of humidity – too much moisture in the air can lead to the growth of mold and harmful bacteria, too little allows particles to remain airborne and can lead to increased instances of illness. A trained IAQ professional can measure the level of humidity in your home and make recommendations for the right system to regulate it.
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