As homeowners, we often think of everything when it comes to the safety of our homes and families. Fire alarms? Check. Carbon monoxide detectors? Check. Annual furnace tune-ups? Of course!
However, one thing we may not be considering when it comes to the health and wellness of our families at home is indoor air quality. The phrase “air quality” is often discussed in the context of carbon emissions, greenhouse gases, and smog. Yet, indoor air quality is just as important, particularly as we enter the colder seasons when we often spend more time indoors. Dirty ductwork, inefficient filtering, and poor air circulation by an outdated residential heating or cooling system could be antagonizing allergic and asthmatic symptoms for those you love.
And it may come as a surprise, but indoor pollutants can be 5x higher than outdoor air quality! Indoor air pollutants include fuel-burning combustion appliances, tobacco products, building materials and furnishings containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and asbestos, cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products, products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, and hobbies, central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices, and outdoor sources, including radon, pesticides, and other outdoor pollutants.
Why Test Your Home Air Quality
No matter the time of year, dangerous and allergy-causing pollutants are likely to find their way into your home. During the winter, these irritants may become more noticeable as our windows are shut and we spend more time indoors.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 25% of heat escapes houses via windows, so it’s our initial instinct to secure windows and doors to minimize drafts . The energy-saving benefits of eliminating drafts are apparent but making our homes “airtight” also eliminates proper ventilation, causing the air within our homes to become stagnant and possibly polluted.
Essentially, regularly checking indoor air quality ensures that our homes’ air quality is safe. In the dead of winter, we don’t need or want our windows to be wide open. But, by monitoring air quality regularly and checking the efficiency of our HVAC systems, we can make informed decisions as to whether or not we need to consider home improvements such as a new and improved HVAC system or an indoor air quality component to our existing system.
Testing Your Home’s Air Quality
Indoor air quality test kits are available to homeowners via home improvement stores and can detect levels of lead, mold, allergens (such as dust mites and pollen), and VOCs.
When purchasing a kit, it’s important to read the label and review what pollutants the product will test for as well as the method of testing.
The benefit of a DIY indoor air quality test is the ease of use. It will enable you to test your home’s air quality yourself or send the kit to be analyzed by a lab.
Maintain Your Home’s Air Quality
While initially testing your home’s air quality is important, it’s critical to monitor and maintain your home’s air quality throughout the year as well. Maintaining your home’s air quality includes cleaning or changing out air filters in your furnace, air conditioner, or ductless mini-split, where pollutants may accumulate and spread throughout your home.
Contact the Professionals
If you’re concerned about your home’s air quality and feel overwhelmed, CPS is always here to help. The expert air-quality consultants at CPS can fully customize a solution to improve the indoor quality of your home as well as lower energy costs.
Today’s sophisticated units are designed to be turn-key bundles that satisfy all of your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs with a single installation. These quiet, compact, and highly energy-efficient units can feature air cleaners, humidity controls, UV lamps, and energy recovery ventilators, giving you peace of mind when it comes to your home’s air quality.
Contact us anytime to set up a consultation or call us at 508-460-6691 – we’re here to help.