You probably don’t think much about the air around you until it starts making you sick. You may have concerns about outdoor air pollution in southern Georgia, but it can be much worse indoors. From simple everyday pollutants like dust that you can see, to those invisible, odorless substances like carbon monoxide and radon, there are several contaminants that can sneak into your home and harm the air quality (IAQ). It is very important that you monitor your indoor air quality to ensure that it is safe even for those with no respiratory problems.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas released during combustion in fireplaces and from appliances such as propane gas stoves. Your kitchen, living room, basement, and garage generally contain equipment that can emit this dangerous gas. As it gets cold, furnaces, generators, and stoves used for heating are typical culprits. When using combustion appliances, be sure to follow instructions carefully, and always ventilate the area well to avoid CO buildup. Carbon monoxide leaks cause headaches, confusion, nausea, and unconsciousness. Since the gas cannot be detected by your own senses, you should install CO detector nears bedrooms and ensure they are properly installed according to local codes. CO detectors are available as smoke detector combos and stand-alone devices as well.
Test for Radon
Radon is another colorless, odorless gas, and is emitted from decaying uranium found in soil, particularly where the soil is high in phosphate. Radon is found everywhere, and we have all likely come into contact with it in low, harmless quantities. The problem occurs when radon is concentrated in closed spaces, for example, by seeping into a home’s foundation through cracks and collecting in a basement. Radon has been linked to lung cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so it is very important that your IAQ tests include checks for this substance as well. Kits for detecting radon can be purchased from your local home improvement store. If your home test reveals signs of radon, it’s time to contact a professional.
Manage Indoor Humidity
Indoor humidity should be reduced to 30-60% to prevent mold growth. High humidity levels create the ideal environment for dust mites and mold. To keep hydrated and in order to survive, dust mites absorb moisture in the air through their bodies. So the higher the humidity, the better their chances for survival and reproduction.
Mold flourishes in high humidity as it takes root on surfaces that absorb the excess moisture in the air. As mold grows it releases spores. The spores become airborne, further degrading your air quality, and causing allergic responses. Combined with moisture, mold decays wood and ruins other structural components.
Relative humidity below 30 percent dries mucous membranes and puts some people at risk of a respiratory infection. It is important therefore to control humidity levels in your home.
Controlling humidity can be a complicated matter. You will need to be able to locate the moisture source. Sometimes both the mold and moisture origin are located in hard-to-access areas, making detection and control difficult. Your humidity problem could also result from an under-performing air conditioner not removing excess humidity from the air. You may need to add a dehumidifier to your home’s comfort system, especially if someone in your home has respiratory problems. If you have reason to be concerned about moisture levels in your home, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer to monitor humidity levels. There are also models that can be integrated with your thermostat.
Check Your HVAC Filters
One of the simplest methods for monitoring and maintaining your indoor air quality is to keep a vigilant eye on your HVAC’s air filters. Start out by using high-efficiency filters and change or clean them on schedule per the manufacturer’s recommendations. If your home is susceptible to poor IAQ problems, such as high dust accumulations, you will see signs of it on your filter. Change your dirty filter right away. You will begin to reduce your IAQ challenges while improving your HVAC system’s efficiency.
There are always DIY actions you can take to resolve some IAQ problems, such as regularly cleaning your home and reducing or eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. The most effective option however, is to trust the experienced and thorough services of a professional.
Contact Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning for effective solutions to your air quality questions and challenges. Our experienced technicians are skilled in providing a variety of HVAC services for your home comfort needs. Call us today at (229) 686-5531 for more information or to schedule an appointment for indoor air quality services and testing.