4 Tips to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
If the air inside your home is of poor quality, it will make no secret of that fact. Thick airborne concentrations of irritants such as pollen, dust, dust mites, pet dander, rodent dander and cockroach residue can cause any of the following health symptoms:
- Allergic reactions
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty breathing
- Exacerbated asthma
- Dry or otherwise irritated skin
Poor indoor air quality isn’t just capable of harming your health. You may also notice unpleasant odors, increased dust buildup around your vents, and hot or cold spots which indicate that your HVAC system is not effectively circulating air.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve your home’s air quality – some on your own, and others with the help of a good HVAC service in Sioux Falls, SD. Take a deep breath, and let’s continue!
1. Install Better HVAC Air Filters
Selecting a more effective air filter only requires a surface-level understanding of the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) system. The higher a filter’s MERV rating, the smaller the airborne particles it can intercept.
- MERV 1-4 – 10 micron (µm) diameter particles
- MERV 5-8 – 3 µm
- MERV 9-12 – 1 µm
- MERV 13-16 – 0.3 µm
- MERV 17-20 – <0.3 µm
For context, a MERV 1 filter can trap contaminant particles such as dust mites (20 µm) and pollen (10-70 µm). In contrast, a MERV 20 filter effectively captures smoke particles (2.5 µm), E. coli bacteria (1 µm) and even larger viruses (~0.5 µm). For the majority of homeowners, the most effective available air filter is a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter which has a MERV rating of 17.
2. Install an Ultraviolet Light Air Purifier
The same properties which make direct exposure to UV light so harmful to humans also make it downright deadly to microorganisms. When an airborne virus, bacterium, mold spore or fungal spore is bombarded by UV light, its DNA is instantly destroyed. Imagine that UV light is a bowling ball and DNA is a china cabinet, and you can appreciate just how destructively it treats single-celled organisms. It takes UV light only five seconds to kill 100 percent of the bacteria it touches!
A UV light purifier may be installed out of sight inside a ventilation duct. It may alternatively exist as a stand-alone unit. Either type of model will eradicate any living particles which pass through it, which can spell enormous relief for allergy sufferers.
3. Install an Air Ionizer
An ionic air purifier doesn’t actually kill microorganisms. But unlike a UV light purifier, it effectively removes both organic and inorganic contaminants from the air. The machine operates by releasing negatively charged ions into the air. These ions bind to airborne particles like dust and pollen, thus forcing them to clump together. Clumps of particles are too heavy to remain airborne, so they sink to the floor where they can be safely vacuumed.
4. Control the Humidity in Your Home
The Environmental Protection Agency advises keeping your home’s relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. This is because black mold, a fungus which causes several unpleasant allergic reactions, also thrives best when relative humidity is 55 percent or higher. But you don’t want the humidity in your home to dip too low, as that can damage your woodwork and even increase your susceptibility to influenza.
Once you have purchased a hygrometer, there are several things you can do to achieve optimal indoor humidity. When humidity is too high, consider covering pots and using your oven’s exhaust fan while you are cooking. Alternatively, you can take cooler showers or move your potted plants outdoors. When humidity is too low, you may hang dry your laundry indoors, leave the tub full after you have taken a bath, or simply place a bowl of water in front of a space heater.
Of course, the easiest way to maintain optimal indoor humidity is mechanical: a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on which direction you need to go in. These devices are available as either stand-alone units or additions to an existing HVAC system.
Do you need a technological solution that will improve your home’s indoor air quality? Then you want the professional vent cleaning, furnace maintenance and air purifier installation services offered by PrairieSons. Contact our HVAC company in Sioux Falls, SD today and we’ll have you breathing easy in no time!