It’s winter and everyone is spending more time indoors. As we know, homes are designed and built to keep heat inside during the winter to ensure occupants are comfortable. In addition, most people make an extra effort to seal out the cold by adding extra insulation and filling any cracks that may cause drafts. This is a great way to stay warm, but by doing this, they are also sealing out fresh air. This lack of fresh air increases the concentration of both allergens and pollutants in the home and lowers the indoor air quality. According to the EPA, poor winter indoor air quality (IAQ) can contribute to respiratory conditions such as asthma and cause the flu and colds to more easily linger and be shared among residents.
There are many common indoor allergens and pollutants. Some of the most common include:
- Mold and mildew can grow and multiply when windows are closed. Steam from kitchens and bathrooms can build up and give mold and mildew a place to multiply. When this occurs, they produce airborne spores that can be inhaled.
- Dust mites thrive during the winter as they feed mainly on dead skin cells. Since people are indoors more, this provides them with a greater supply of “food.” The common household dust mite produces a powerful enzyme that can irritate and break down living cells.
- Various VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are produced by many common household cleaning products and building materials. Through a process called “out-gassing” these common products release chemicals, such as methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, and formaldehyde, into the home. Many of these chemicals have been linked to respiratory diseases or cancer.
- Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide can be given off by gas-fired appliances such as stoves and dryers. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas that interferes with the body’s ability to distribute oxygen.
As a professional HVAC contractor, your clients depend on your expertise to keep them healthy and comfortable. Whenever possible, make sure to recommend the following products and tips to your customers to combat the IAQ issues they face throughout the winter
1.. Install a whole-home air purifier.
A whole-home air purifier installed on the HVAC unit will filter the air before it circulates through the home. They improve indoor air quality by removing allergens, dust, and odors. If a whole-home air purifier is not an option for the customer, suggest that they set up individual units for each room or in areas where they are needed most.
2. Proper Ventilation
Newer homes are very well insulated. As a result, during the winter months, when windows are left closed and the heat is on, indoor air quality can suffer. When weather allows, open a window to allow fresh air in and stale air out. Kitchen and bathroom vents are another great way to pull out some of the stale indoor air during the winter. Be aware, these also pull out the warm, heated air if left on for too long, so make sure to advise customers to only use them when needed.
3. Check and change air filters regularly.
The most important thing your customers can do for healthy indoor air quality is to have clean air filters. Advise your customers to check them at least once a month and change them every two to three months. If they have pets or members of the household that are sensitive to allergens, they may need to be changed as frequently as once a month.
- Ionization Machines
These machines attack molds and viruses and eliminate them from the air stream. They also cause the particles in the air to form clumps, which are much easier to be captured in the air filters.
- Humidification Systems
Your customer’s home design and airflow may be holding too much humidity or allowing humidity to escape. You will need to perform IAQ tests to determine what is happening within the home to determine how to manage this issue. It’s never a good idea to assume a humidifier will correct the issue since having too much humidity in a home can create molds and damp wood and drywall, which puts off additional chemicals into the airstream.
If you are looking for the best solution for IAQ, visit your local Source 1 HVAC Supply store today. You can find your local store at www.yorknow.com.