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Indoor Air Quality FAQ

You can’t see it, but you can certainly feel it. The air you breathe inside your home can have a significant impact on your health. When your indoor air quality (IAQ) is compromised, your body will react in a variety of ways, from nausea to allergies and even asthma.

This year, make improving your IAQ a top priority.

Here, we answer your top questions about how to maintain cleaner air.

What is indoor air quality?

The EPA estimates that indoor air quality is up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Pollution inside of homes can contribute to…

  • Respiratory problems

  • Intense allergic reactions

  • Lead poisoning

Common symptoms of poor indoor air quality can include...

  • Headaches

  • Irritation in the eyes or nose

  • Fatigue and dizziness

Pre-existing medical conditions can often become worse after exposure to indoor air pollutants.

What contaminates indoor air quality?

Pollution of the indoor air can come from many different sources. Some sources are continuous, and other sources might be intermittent. For example, appliances such as gas stoves can emit pollution, which is exacerbated by vents that aren’t working correctly.

Materials used in the construction of the building can also off-gas, contributing volatile organic compounds. Some older buildings may be constructed with lead materials or asbestos.

Tobacco smoke, cleaning chemicals, and new furnishings can also affect the quality of the indoor air.

Why should I have my ducts cleaned?

Duct cleaning is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality, especially during the winter months. This is a time when there is little external air entering the home through normal ventilation. The particles of dust, debris, dandruff, and skin cells will get recirculated through the HVAC system around five times per day. This can cause the ducts to experience a buildup of particulates. The contaminates inside of the duct vents may include...

  • Mold

  • Pollen

  • Dust

  • Bacteria

  • Skin cells

How often should I change my filter?

Generally, every 30 to 90 days. Some conditions may require you to change your filter more frequently. For example, during summer, when your central air system is working overtime to cool your home, replace the filter once a month. During the off-season, you can probably get away with replacing it every 90 days.

Members of our WE Filter Club never forget to change their filters because they’re delivered right to their doorsteps.

Do pets affect my indoor air quality?

We love our furry friends, but they don’t do our indoor air quality any favors. If you have pets, you really should replace your filter every 30 days to reduce the amount of dander floating in the air.

Also, you should vacuum more frequently. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is highly recommended. This type of filter will prevent particles from escaping through the exhaust. Take time to groom your pets at least weekly. That will also cut down on dander.

What’s the MERV rating?

Look on any filter and you’ll find its MERV rating. That’s the minimum efficiency reporting value, and it determines how efficient the filter is at trapping particles. The smaller the particle, the higher its MERV.

The MERV goes 16, though anything higher than 13 is going to strain your HVAC system.

Allergy sufferers should consider a MERV of 9 to 13.

What about humidity?

It’s important to keep humidity levels in check, especially in our humid climate. Excessive moisture in the air can breed mold and mildew. Signs of high humidity include sweaty walls and condensation on windows.

A dehumidifier can help maintain adequate humidity levels in your home.

Bottom line: Stagnation and indoor air pollutants can cause respiratory and sinus problems, and it can also exacerbate existing allergies and other medical conditions. Remember that external pollution can also be brought into the home when the floors get covered with residues from shoes. This is why you should remove the shoes before walking around the home, and always keep the floors clean. We also recommend opening the windows for at least five minutes a day -- provided the A/C isn’t running -- to let in the fresh air.

For all of your indoor air quality needs, contact WEATHER ENGINEERS at (321) 414-8782.

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