Tips For Cleaner Indoor Air
The Environmental Protection Agency says most of us spend over 90% of the time indoors, and that the indoor air is usually over 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. Respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma plague many families. Their suffering is often made worse by the air in their home. While many issues like poisonous carbon monoxide gas are undetectable with our senses, some homes have mysterious black stains, lingering musty odors, or visible mold. Unsightly excessive dust on the furniture is another common concern. In many homes it seems to reappear just a few days after house cleaning.
Here are some proven ways to reduce dust and help your family breathe easier:
Have A Central High Efficiency Air Filter Installed
Typical throwaway furnace filters do not even adequately protect your equipment from getting fouled up, let alone protect you from the smallest invisible respirable particles. But be careful with retail store “high efficiency” one inch thick filters – we routinely get service calls after people put them in as they quickly get plugged. This chokes the airflow, which greatly reduces comfort and can even damage your equipment. Ask us about new options for installing a new high efficiency - high capacity air cleaner at the equipment. The best are pleated media filters, typically four to six inches thick, that only need to be changed once a year and don't restrict your airflow. Note however that even the best filter can’t totally eliminate visible dust in the home, simply because visible dust is heavy and often settles on furniture before it gets to the filter.
Test For Contaminated Air Infiltration
Where is that dust coming from? Are you breathing good air or bad air? Fresh air coming in through window and door leaks is usually less than 20% of a home’s incoming air. Building scientists have recently discovered that in the typical home, over half the incoming air first passes through the contaminated attached garage, crawlspace, basement or attic. Air pollutants such as pollen and mold spores, carbon monoxide, automobile exhaust, crystallized rodent urine proteins, radon gas, crawlspace moisture, insulation fibers and volatile organic chemicals can contaminate this incoming air, and negatively affect your family’s health and safety.
Our Infiltrometer blower door test pinpoints where the bad air leaks are, and provides guidance on how to fix them. Many can be easily repaired by homeowners as weekend projects. Others such as duct leaks are better left to professionals.
Finding and fixing the leaks that let in bad air will make your home healthier, less humid in the summer, less dusty, more comfortable, and even pay for itself through lower heating, cooling and repair bills.
When there are duct leaks it's important to “Seal Your Duct work” to prevent the contaminants including dust, allergens, and pollutants from entering the air stream in the first place. Aeroseal patented technology is the most effective technique available for sealing ducts. If Aeroseal duct sealing isn't an option, then hand sealing with mastic is better than not sealing at all. In addition to the indoor air quality benefits, duct sealing can save you up to 30% on your energy bills, while increasing your comfort level by reducing temperature differences between floors and hard to heat or cool rooms.
Repair Leaky Recessed Can Lights
One of the worst common leaks are recessed can lights. They inadvertently connect your living space to your attic - which is often the unhealthiest space in a home. Luckily most of these lights can be upgraded to LED inserts at a reasonable cost. During the Infiltrometer test, ask us to inspect your recessed can lights to see if they are an upgrade opportunity. They quickly pay for themselves through lower electric bills, and the savings on heating and cooling.
You don’t have to put up with unhealthy indoor air. Give us a call! You now have lots of options. We’re happy to chat about these and many other new ways you can help your family breathe easier.