Healthy Indoors Magazine - USA Edition

HI February 2021

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Page 33 of 45

By Susan Valenti W e often think of air pollution as a prob- lem that remains outdoors, particularly in large cities. However, agencies like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are finding that the air in our homes can be just as polluted. Poor air quality at home may go unnoticed for some time, but the long-term effects include chronic allergies, asthma, and, in the case of some toxic gasses, even cancer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do right now to main- tain good quality air inside your home. Change Air Filters The air filters in your home were designed to effectively remove dust, debris, and other microscopic particles from your home's air supply. Over time, however, those filters could become clogged, allowing dirty air to recirculate throughout your home. Not only does this lower the air quality of your home, it also causes your HVAC system to work harder, leading to higher utility bills and even damage to the system. Fortunately, these problems are easy to avoid. Purchase high quality air filters and change them regularly. Most HVAC manufacturers recommend changing out your filters once a month, especial- ly in peak heating and cooling seasons. Regularly changing filters will keep your air quality high and your HVAC sys- tem running at maximum capacity. Install an HRV System Most people long to bring the fresh air from the outdoors inside, but that isn't always an option, especially on hot summer days or cold winter nights. Heat Recovery Ventilators, or HRVs, solve that problem by removing stale, unhealthy air that is circulating your home, while simultaneously replacing it with fresh outside air. The temperature of the indoor air is then transferred to the air coming in from outside, without the transfer of dust, dirt, and pollution. This heat ex- change not only helps to maintain good air quality in your home, it could also save you money on your heating and cooling. Utilize Dehumidifiers and Exhaust Fans High humidity indoors creates the perfect environment for bacteria and toxic mold to grow. Once mold is in your home, millions of toxic spores could be released and recirculated through your home's HVAC system. EPA recommends that humidity levels remain between 30 percent and 60 percent, but every day activities like cooking, bathing, and even talking could increase the overall moisture of the air. Dehumidifiers and exhaust fans help by pulling the moisture out of your air, making it harder for mold to grow and spread. These systems also help your existing HVAC system to heat and cool your home more effectively. Clean Out Air Ducts Your HVAC system relies on air ducts to deliver refreshing air to every part of your home. When your air ducts are filled with dust, dirt, and debris, however, these microscopic particles are circulated throughout your home as well. If you've recently remodeled your home, or if you live with pets or smokers, it's rec- ommended that you have your air ducts cleaned by a licensed HVAC professional. CONSUMER IAQ 32 | February 2021 How to Maintain Good Air Quality in Your Home By Alan Smith

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