There ‘s a very good chance that you’re reading this indoors right now. In fact, indoors is where the average American spends 90% of their time. When you think about air quality, you may immediately think of outdoor pollution, pollen and allergy seasons; however, the EPA reports that air pollution levels are upwards of two to five times higher inside than they are outside. Not only does indoor air pollution affect us greatly, it can also increase energy use and costs, thus lowering our overall energy efficiency.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the largest source of energy consumption in the USA. In fact, the EPA reports that HVAC usage alone consumes 43% of all energy used in the United States. As a homeowner, the goal is to reduce HVAC usage and lower the overall energy costs at the same time. This can be done numerous ways, such as adding some additional insulation and sealing any small holes with weather stripping and caulk. You’ll see energy costs go down when you are letting less warm air out and cold air in during the winter – or vice-a-versa in the summer.
While taking steps to make your home “airtight” to conserve energy does work, it also traps indoor air inside of your home. Recirculating within this “trapped” air can be pollutants and contaminates from paints, cleaning supplies, etc. among other airborne particles. When there isn’t proper ventilation in place, the contaminants from these products can result in “sick building syndrome” where a person’s health is adversely affected due to the amount of time spent indoors. The most important thing to remember is that it’s essential to balance the energy efficiency with your indoor air quality by making sure there is proper air exchanges and ventilation. According to ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy), “Efficient HVAC systems should ensure that occupants get adequate, filtered, fresh air. They should deliver the correct amount of air to the desired locations. Typically, inefficient systems are not only energy-inefficient, but also ineffective at doing their intended function.”
Steps to Improving Your IAQ
1. Change your furnace filter and air filters regularly. Clean air filters are extremely important to not only maintain a fully functioning system, but also for capturing those indoor airborne pollutants effectively.
2. Take care of your home’s HVAC system. Scheduling a professional inspection twice a year and regularly changing your air filters (as mentioned above) ensures your HVAC system operates at full efficiency and rids your home of any harmful pollutants.
Common sources of indoor air pollution include:
- Combustion – Heating your home with oil, gas, kerosene, coal or wood can generate pollutants such as smoke, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Man-made items such as carpets, furniture, cabinetry, building materials, and paint within a home can release VOCs.
- Household Chemicals – Personal care products (hairspray, cosmetics), glues, cleaning products, and air-fresheners can all be respiratory irritants.
- Natural Sources – Environmental contaminants such as pollen, mold, mildew, dust and pet dander are all natural sources of indoor air pollutants.
3. Ensure your home is properly ventilated. It is important to vent contaminated air and excess humidity out of your home year round. Kitchens and bathrooms should have operational exhaust fans that vent contaminated, moisture-laden air from your home.
4. Add a touch of green life throughout your home. Houseplants are very effective at cleaning indoor air as they remove contaminants from the air and emit fresh oxygen. For max efficiency, add one houseplant per every 100 square feet of home.
Additional Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home
- Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.
- Install and use a programmable thermostat.
- Wash clothing in cold water.
- Use ceiling fans to supplement heating and cooling system operation.
- Replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR-qualified models.
- Unplug unused electronic devices or place them on a power strip that can switch off multiple appliances simultaneously.
US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units
No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your unit running at its maximum efficiency. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!
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Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs.We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.