Indoor air pollution is a major concern and also an issue that has continued to get worse over time. One thing many people don’t understand is that indoor air is almost always more polluted than outdoor air even in bigger cities with lots of traffic like Las Vegas. In the majority of homes, the level of airborne pollution is typically three to five times greater than the amount of outdoor air pollution. This is because the air in a home tends to stay trapped inside so that it gets more and more polluted, whereas the air outside can constantly circulate so that the concentration of airborne pollutants is lower. In this article, we’ll show you why indoor air quality is so important to consider and also discuss the various options you have for bettering the air quality in your home this winter.
Why Indoor Air Quality Is Important
There are a few different reasons why indoor air pollution is a bigger problem now than it ever was in the past. One reason has to do with all of the different chemicals we’re surrounded by in our daily lives as a huge amount of chemicals release or “off-gas” harmful substances into the air. It isn’t just all of the chemicals we use for cleaning and everything we store in our homes and garages. The vast majority of the materials used to build homes also give off formaldehyde and other harmful gases, and most furniture does as well as lots of chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. Even TVs, computers and other electronic devices release many different substances in the air.
The other main reason the problem is worse is that modern buildings are more energy efficient and more tightly sealed. While this is great for helping to keep the home sufficiently cooled and warmed, it also means that the air in a home is trapped inside. Many homes are poorly ventilated and don’t have an effective way to exchange all of the polluted air with cleaner air from outside other than by opening the windows and creating a through-draft. Without adequate ventilation, the air quality inside a building continues to get worse and worse since every home has so many sources of airborne pollution.
Living in a home with poor air quality and continually breathing in lots of pollution is obviously not great for your health. Numerous studies have directly linked long-term exposure to common household pollutants like formaldehyde to an increased risk of serious illnesses including cancer. Improving the air quality in your home will help keep your family healthier and also help make your home more comfortable so it’s definitely something worth investing in.
How Ventilation Can Improve Indoor Air Quality
Older homes are said to have passive ventilation. This means that air constantly moves in and out of the house through gaps in the roof and exterior walls. Newer homes are much more well built so that the air can’t escape and air can’t get in from outside, which is why the building codes in most places require new homes to have a mechanical ventilation system. Mechanical ventilation is an extremely effective way to reduce indoor air pollution as this type of system will regularly exchange the air inside with fresh air from outdoors. This means you can bring clean air into your home without having to open your windows and let lots of heat or cold inside. The best thing about mechanical ventilation systems is that most of them have a heat exchanger that will raise or lower the temperature of the air coming into the house so the home stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
How UV Lights Can Help You Stay Healthy
Another great option for improving indoor air quality is to install a germicidal UV light unit onto the HVAC system. An air-sanitizing UV light unit is a great way to keep you and your family healthier over the winter. When one person in a house is sick, everyone else usually ends up catching the same thing since the HVAC system will spread the germs around the house.
HVAC UV lights can help to prevent this as ultraviolet light changes the DNA of bacteria and viruses so that they become harmless and can’t make you sick. This type of unit is mounted onto one of the air ducts in your home so that the ultraviolet light shines into the duct. When your HVAC system runs, the UV rays will destroy almost all bacteria and viruses on contact so that you don’t need to worry about the system spreading them around the home.
The Importance of Air Filtration and Purification
Having adequate air filtration in a home is also essential for preventing the HVAC system from spreading all the pollution around. There are a wide variety of air filtration and air purification options that will greatly boost the indoor air quality in your home. Different systems work in different ways, but all will capture or filter out most airborne allergens and pollutants so that you no longer have to constantly breathe them in. Removing all of the chemicals and odor-causing bacteria from the air will also help to keep your home smelling fresher and cleaner.
How Humidity Affects Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is about both health and comfort, and this is where managing the humidity level in a home can help. The desert climate in Las Vegas is obviously extremely dry, and overly dry air in a home definitely isn’t great for either comfort or health. The mucous membranes in the upper respiratory system work to capture allergens, bacteria and viruses to prevent them from entering the lungs and causing an infection or allergic reaction. Dry air sucks out most of the moisture from the membranes and dries them out, which is why your nose, throat and sinuses often feel more irritated in drier conditions. When the membranes dry out, they also do their job less effectively so there is a greater chance of you coughing, sneezing and getting sick.
A whole-home humidifier is the best option for preventing these issues and keeping your home more comfortable. This type of unit will produce moist air that flows out into your ductwork, and the HVAC system will move the moisture around the home so that the air in the home never gets overly dry. This means you’ll be able to avoid irritation, breathe easier and stay healthy throughout the winter.
Las Vegas’ Indoor Air Quality Experts
Polar Air & Heating, Inc. is a top choice if you need any indoor air quality services in the Las Vegas area. Whether you’re looking to install a ventilation system, air purification system, air filtration, UV lights or a dehumidifier, we’re always ready to help. We can also maintain and repair any indoor air quality system to ensure it functions effectively, and our certified HVAC technicians can take care of your heating and air conditioning needs as well. For more information on the options you have for reducing your home’s air quality issues this winter, give us a call today.