We don’t know about you, but wintertime makes us want to hibernate like bears, especially on these cold Kansas City days. The Farmer’s Almanac for 2015 indicates we’re in for a lot of indoor days ahead in January and February.
And when you’re spending a lot of time indoors staying toasty it could mean you’re breathing air that may be low quality. Living in a newer home exacerbates the problem because homes today are built so airtight. That’s good for energy efficiency, but not so good for your health. Living in an older home is actually a good thing when it comes to better indoor air quality. Those drafty windows and doors are supplying you with fresh air; it’s cold air, but it’s definitely not as polluted.
Sore, itchy eyes, a burning sensation in the nose and throat, headaches and even fatigue can be attributed to indoor air pollutants. For some, air pollutants create or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer and other serious long-term conditions. In a worse case scenario, carbon monoxide (an air pollutant) can cause death. View the video below for a better understanding:
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to improve your indoor air quality. The easiest of which is to open a window. Sounds crazy in the middle of winter, right? We’d be rich if we had a dollar every time we told our kids to hurry up and shut the door. Come to find out, they’re not just letting cold air in; they’re improving our health. We’re not talking sleep with your windows open. We’re talking just letting some fresh (albeit cold) air in on occasion. Opening a window makes more sense in warmer weather given you keep safety and security in mind. You don’t want a thief taking advantage of your need to improve your indoor air quality.
You know that dust piling up on your furniture? Well here’s a good reason to stop ignoring it. Dust is an indoor air pollutant. The dust you see on your furniture gets there because it’s heavy enough to fall out of the air. An air filter will never eliminate these particles, which is how it came into your view in the first place. Dust is heavy enough to fall on floors. That’s why you see in on furniture. The filter will never pick up these heavy “pollutants.” To get dusting or better yet, help avoid dust in first place by sealing cracks, especially around can lights in your ceiling.
If you’d do just about anything to get out of dusting, then consider installing a 4”-5” air filter. These enormously wide filters do an impressive job of catching dust. However, they require modifying your air filter space since they’re meant to house a 1” filter. We know for a fact that they work well because homes with these filters installed have clean blower motors, not dusty ones. Another bonus, cleaner motors work more efficiently.
Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) and Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) make sense for some homeowners and businesses. What they do? They reduce indoor pollutants like cleaning chemicals, gas emitted from carpets, interior paint and spray foam sealant fumes, plus a lot of other sources.
They bring in fresh outside air and have a built in filter or works through a regular furnace. They’re like having the windows open, but air goes through a filter so you don’t have to worry about dust and pollen. They are required on tightly sealed and insulated homes, which would otherwise never benefit from fresh air without opening the windows. What they don’t do? Recover energy, heat spaces or save energy while heating air.
Poor indoor air quality can put people at risk for health problems. Indoor air pollutants range from chemicals and gases to living organisms such as mold and pests (yeah, gross). Luckily, you can improve your indoor air quality several ways from something as easy as opening a window to installing state-of-the-art HRV or ERV systems.
Still have questions? Contact the professionals at United Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to understand how we can help you breathe a littler easier. We’re more than just plumbers and HVAC technicians, think of us as healthcare professionals for your home!