Did you know indoor air pollution levels are two to five times higher than outdoor air pollution levels? Since we spend a good deal of our time inside, the air quality we breathe indoors should be of the utmost importance. Common indoor air pollutants include:
- Secondhand smoke: A serious indoor air pollutant which can worsen symptoms for asthma sufferers, increase risks of ear infections in children and increase risks for SIDS in babies.
- Radon: A dangerous gas pollutant identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer, Radon enters homes through cracks and other improperly sealed openings.
- Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide: These gases come from burning materials or improperly vented fuel-burning appliances such as space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces.
- Allergens: Pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold are among several indoor pollutants that can trigger allergy symptoms and asthma.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC system can improve indoor air quality and reduce allergens throughout the home. Here’s what you can do:
- Replace filters. Use high-quality filters or permanent HEPA filters, which remove more than 90% of microscopic particles, drastically reducing indoor allergens. For replaceable filters, consider changing them every three months. For permanent HEPA filters, clean them or have them cleaned regularly.
- Keep your HVAC unit clean. Check your outdoor AC unit and indoor unit to make sure they are free of dust and debris. If your unit is left dusty or dirty, that debris will be sucked into the HVAC system and circulated throughout your home. Keeping your units clean will reduce allergens.
- Check for mold. Mold is one of the most dangerous indoor pollutants that can be in your home. You should be checking your air ducts, drip pan and drain, evaporator coils, and air handler every few weeks to make sure there is no mold growth. Mold spores cause allergies and in some cases if left unchecked, they cause serious illness and even death.
- Dust regularly. When dusting your home, you should dust your air registers and return vents first. If your registers and vents are dusty, then they will circulate dust to the rest of your home. Cleaning them with a damp cloth instead of a feather duster will pick up the dust rather than just redistributing it elsewhere.
- Schedule HVAC maintenance. Spring is a great time to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment. Regular professional maintenance is important to keep your system healthy and free of dust and blockage.