Did you know measures that make your home more energy efficient could cause degradation of your home’s indoor air quality? That’s because of the effects of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants. The what, you might ask?
A benefit of structures becoming significantly more air-tight over the years, thanks to improved construction methods, is lower energy costs. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a consequence of sealing up homes tight, is a marked decline in indoor air quality. Microscopic outdoor contaminants, also known as particulate matter, infiltrate your home each time you open exterior doors or windows. Examples are mold and pollen. However, once they leak in, they’re likely not escaping back out. Sealed up in the energy-efficient confines of your home, these airborne sources of allergies and other physical complaints multiply and are continuously recirculated by your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment.
Furthermore, not all the bad stuff comes from outdoors. Interior sources of pollutants like gases and volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as formaldehyde, are numerous. These substances may be outgassed by construction materials, carpeting or furniture. To protect against particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, you need to adopt an indoor air quality strategy that removes particulate matter and gaseous pollutants from your home.
Stopping contaminants at the source
You can squash the vapors and gasses that emanate from materials inside your home by removing the materials that are causing them or by increasing ventilation with exhaust fans. When you install new carpeting or construction-type materials, consider closing off those areas from the rest of your home, or greatly limiting their use, for two weeks. This allows the chemical vapors to dissipate.
Furthermore, choose cleaning substances that do not generate chemical fumes. Although there are no established guidelines for “green” cleaning products, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends using cleaning substances that are biodegradable and contain no corrosive or irritating substances, carcinogens or ozone-depleting compounds. Some of the ingredients common to cleaning products that contribute to indoor fumes include chemicals called phthalates, which add the pleasant fragrance to some cleaners; ammonia; sodium hydroxide (lye); formaldehyde; and ethylene glycol butyl ether. When buying indoor paints, look for those with the lowest VOC ratings on the label.
Removing contaminants from your indoor air
A whole-house air purifier installed inside your ductwork cleans air as it circulates through the air handler and ductwork. Some units utilize high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, while others work in conjunction with germicidal ultraviolet lamps that destroy microorganisms such as mold spores and bacteria. The UV light energy also activates a photocatalytic grid to break VOCs and other fumes down into carbon dioxide and water. Since the total volume of air in your home circulates through your ductwork many times per day, the air is continually treated for particulate matter and gaseous pollutants.
Customer service is a major priority at Roth Heating & Cooling. Let us demonstrate our commitment to your comfort and interior air quality. Call for more information on eliminating particulate matter and gaseous pollutants from your home environment at (503) 266-1249.