How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Home12/15/2017Indoor air quality is central to your family’s health. Did you realize 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 placed indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental dangers. Mold, pollen, pet dander, radon and even formaldehyde are regularly found inside homes. Another concern as it relates to indoor air quality is humidity. Air that is too humid or too dry can have ill effects on your health and damage your home. Let’s take a look at three of the ways Kowalski Heating & Cooling can help you enhance the indoor air quality in your McMurray home. A Clean System is the First Step to Good Indoor Air Quality A dirty HVAC system can harbor and circulate allergens throughout your home. Your first line of defense is to keep your system clean and well maintained. The easiest thing you can do is check your air filter routinely and replace it when it becomes dirty. In the majority of homes, the air filter needs to be changed every two or three months, but Kowalski Heating & Cooling recommends that you check them every month—especially if you have indoor air quality issues. Annual furnace, heat pump and/or air conditioner maintenance is also important. Your technician will make sure your system is clean and not circulating dust and debris throughout your McMurray home. Enlist the Help of an Air Purifier An air purifier can help improve indoor air quality and offer some relief from seasonal and indoor allergies. For optimal allergy control, look for an air purifier that filters out at least 95 percent of particles as small as .3 micron (a micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter). Even if your household doesn’t have allergies, filtering out pollutants is beneficial. 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 have it smell like your home is unclean. Cleaning your air with an air purifier is a healthier way to get rid of these odors than trying to cover them up. Cleaning products, air sprays and scented candles may actually pollute your indoor air more. The right air purifier will destroy household odors, offering you clean, healthy air. Control Humidity for Health The EPA suggests maintaining your indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Dry air 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 intensify symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. And, chances are good 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 you do? A whole home humidifier can provide up to 50 percent more humidity than portable humidifiers. Plus, you don’t have to continuously adjust most models—just program in your desired humidity and you’re ready to go. Proper humidity levels will not only help keep you and your family in good health, but they can help protect 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 fix your thermostat a little lower to save on your utility bills without sacrificing comfort. These are just a few of the ways Kowalski Heating & Cooling can help you improve your indoor air quality. Give us a call at [[phonenumber]] or schedule an appointment with us online to find out even more options.