Indoor air quality is an issue in many homes here in the Portland area. Even when outdoor air is relatively clean and unpolluted, indoor air can be the opposite. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns, certain indoor contaminants are given off continuously by building materials, furnishings and household products. Even something as common as wet carpet may emit harmful pollutants into your home’s air. Most people are aware of the more obvious indoor air contaminants such as dust, pollen, pet dander and mold spores. None of this is good. But what can you do? Here are the Top-3 steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality:
Cut off — or reduce — the source
The most cost-efficient option for improving your IAQ is source control. Locate and seal off any areas of the home that are emitting noxious particles. Keep home improvement projects or hobbies requiring chemicals or glue in their own area of the house or outside if possible. Have your gas furnace, stove or other combustion appliances checked for leaks and adjusted to lower emissions.
Bringing more fresh air into your home will dilute any harmful chemicals and odors. Unfortunately most heating and cooling systems are not set up to do this. Be sure to use kitchen and bathroom fans to help freshen the air in those areas. Of course open your doors and windows when possible. Energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators or heat exchangers are becoming more common in homes to bring in fresh air without wasting energy.
Use an air cleaner
Whole-house air cleaners with a highly efficient filter and high air circulation rates can do wonders for your indoor air quality. The EPA explains that table-top models are usually not very effective. They also warn that air cleaners do not eliminate harmful gasses like radon from the air.
We invite you to contact the pros at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical with any questions about indoor air quality or ventilation. We’ve been in business locally for 35 years serving the complete HVAC needs of Portland-area residents.