Indoor air quality is vital to the health of your family. Did you know that the air inside the average home is much more polluted than outdoor air? It is—about five times more. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental hazards. Mold, pollen, pet dander, radon and even formaldehyde are usually found inside homes.
Another concern as it relates to indoor air quality is humidity. Air that is too humid or too dry can have harsh effects on your health and damage your home. Let’s check out three of the ways Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can help you improve the indoor air quality in your Portland home.
A Clean System is the First Step to Good Indoor Air Quality
A dirty HVAC system can harbor and circulate allergens throughout your home. Your first line of defense is to keep your system clean and well maintained. The easiest thing you can do is check your air filter consistently and replace it when it becomes dirty. In the majority of homes, the air filter needs to be changed every two or three months, but Three Rivers Heating & Cooling recommends that you check them every month—especially if you have indoor air quality issues. Annual furnace, heat pump and/or air conditioner maintenance is beneficial, too. Your technician will make sure your system is clean and not circulating dust and debris through your Portland home.
Enlist the Help of an Air Purifier
An air purifier can help improve indoor air quality and provide some relief from seasonal and indoor allergies. For maximum allergy control, look for an option that filters out at least 95 percent of particles as small as .3 micron (a micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter). Even if your household doesn’t have allergies, filtering out pollutants is beneficial. The EPA has stated that the long-term effects of poor indoor air quality include potentially debilitating or deadly respiratory and heart diseases and cancer (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality). A good air purifier, like the Lennox® PureAirTM, will remove 90 percent of germs and bacteria from your home—down to .01 micron.
Another way an air purifier can make your house more comfortable is by reducing household odors. While not as severe as pollutants and germs, bad odors are normally unwelcome in people’s homes. Odors from things like pets, cooking, and sports gear can leave your house smelling unclean. Cleaning your air with an air purifier is a healthier way to eliminate these odors than trying to mask them. Cleaning products, air sprays and scented candles may actually pollute your indoor air more. The right air purifier will obliterate household odors, offering you clean, healthy air.
Control Humidity for Health
The EPA recommends maintaining your indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Dry air can cause health problems like upper-respiratory issues, dry throat and nose, and itchy skin. Not to mention that viruses generally thrive in dry air, and dry air is known to heighten symptoms for allergy and asthma sufferers. And, chances are high that your home’s air is too dry—the average heated home has a relative humidity between 13 and 16 percent in the winter months. That’s drier than the world’s driest deserts! So what can you do?
A whole home humidifier can offer up to 50 percent more humidity than portable humidifiers. Plus, you don’t have to continuously adjust most models—just program in your desired humidity and you’re set. Proper humidity levels will not only help keep everyone in your home in good health, but they can help protect your home from damages caused by dry airlike shrinking and cracking wood. What’s even better is that humid air feels warmer, so with a whole home humidifier on board, you could program your thermostat a little lower to save money without sacrificing comfort.
These are just a sampling of the ways Three Rivers Heating & Cooling can help you improve your indoor air quality. Call us at 503-213-4433 to find out even more options.