Indoor Air Quality Services in Chino Valley, AZ
These past few years, Arizona residents have been spending a lot of time at home. Even now that most people aren’t working from home or locked down under quarantines for days or weeks at a time, it’s still common for people to spend almost 90% of their time indoors.
It’s tempting to assume that spending time inside is better for the lungs since there should be less smog, allergen-causing pollen, and other sources of irritation. Unfortunately, that’s generally not the case. The EPA estimates concentrations of many common airborne pollutants to be two to five levels higher in indoor environments.
There’s good news for Chino Valley homeowners, as well. Although it’s difficult for one person to do much about smog, wildfire smoke, or airborne allergens outside, it’s easy for homeowners to take control of the indoor air quality (IAQ) inside their houses.
What Exactly Is IAQ?
IAQ refers primarily to the concentrations of different chemical and biological contaminants within a building, but it’s also impacted by humidity, temperature, and ventilation levels. Homeowners shouldn’t assume their indoor air quality in Chino Valley is acceptable just because no one is sneezing or getting sick. Only some of the contaminants found in Arizona homes have immediate effects on residents’ health.
How to Evaluate IAQ
The best way to determine whether the IAQ in a home is acceptable is to schedule an assessment with an HVAC contractor. Not all companies offer IAQ services, so it may be necessary to turn to a new company for the assessment. During the initial visit, a technician will evaluate the quality of the air with an eye to identifying common contaminants such as:
- Pet dander
- Indoor dust
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Fungal spores
- Carbon monoxide
The Importance of IAQ
Depending on the type of contaminants found within a home, residents or guests may experience worrisome health symptoms. Airborne allergens can cause sneezing, eye irritation, coughing, congestion, and worsening asthma symptoms, but it’s not just people with underlying respiratory problems that can suffer as a result of poor IAQ in the home.
Exposure to toxic mold spores can cause headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Prolonged exposure to VOCs can cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, or liver, and may cause cancer. Excessive concentrations of carbon monoxide can be fatal. Needless to say, it’s worth scheduling an assessment to make sure these potentially serious issues don’t come up.
Now that it’s clear why IAQ is so important, let’s start discussing potential solutions. Homeowners who schedule IAQ assessments can trust the same expert contractors to provide them with the help required to reduce concentrations of contaminants so that everyone can breathe a little easier. Depending on the type of problem uncovered during the assessment, potential solutions can include:
Installing an Air Filtration System
Air filtration systems can be either freestanding units designed to protect individual rooms or whole-home systems that can remove airborne contaminants from the entire house.
Whole-home air filtration systems are more efficient and offer a greater level of protection, but they must be installed by a professional. Types of whole-home air filters include:
- Flat filters
- Extended media filters
- Electronic filters
- Ultraviolet filters
- HEPA filters
Flat filters are the least effective. Extended media filters are a better option for any household with one or more residents who suffer from allergies. Electronic and ultraviolet filters can be even more effective at removing a full range of airborne contaminants.
Balancing Humidity Levels
Relative humidity levels inside a home can vary substantially as a result of temperature changes, atmospheric pressure changes, and even minor water leaks. Installing a humidity control system that offers extra humidification in the winter when the air is dry and dehumidification in the summer months is the best way to address this problem. Speak with an HVAC contractor about how to keep relative humidity levels in that sweet spot of between 40 and 50 percent.
Identifying Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Any household that has gas appliances needs a carbon monoxide detector. This odorless gas can be deadly if it’s introduced into the environment in large quantities, so it’s always worth the minor expense of having CO2 detectors installed and serviced once a year and keeping gas-using appliances in good shape so that they don’t develop leaks.
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