If you have ever found yourself avoiding news about declining air quality worldwide, you are in good company.
It is never easy to hear about escalating pollution that impacts not just the outside air we share but also the air inside our homes, workplaces and schools.
However, there is one bright light we can choose to focus on, which is that you have control over the quality of your indoor air.
In this post, learn about a simple three-step process you can use to clean and detoxify your indoor air.
3 Steps to Better Indoor Air Quality
The U.S. EPA recently released their general findings on the best way to clean up toxic indoor air using this 3-step process.
1. Control the source
The first step is to improve your understanding of how pollution enters your indoor air.
In other words, the more you know about the specific toxins in your space, the more you can tailor a specific solution to the specific air quality problem.
Many of today’s indoor air pollution sources are ones we introduce ourselves. Some are easier to control than others (for example, if you use a wood stove or indoor fireplace, even the best exhaust vent may not remove all combustion by-products).
Other introduced toxins come from cleaning supplies, perfume or body spray, craft adhesives or glues, off-gassing from new furnishings, use of tobacco products and similar sources.
Two basic methods exist to determine what is polluting your indoor air.
The first and most obvious method is simple observation. You can look around your home and notice what is going on.
Does someone in your family smoke or vape inside the home? Do you light candles or use air fresheners? Can you pronounce any of the ingredients listed on that bottle of sanitizer spray? Do your hobbies require using glues, adhesives, paints or other chemicals?
The second method is air testing.
A variety of air tests exist depending on what types of toxins you are looking for. For example, some geographic areas have a known higher output of radon gas than others.
There are also some tests that can comprehensively evaluate your indoor air and give you one summarized list of indoor air pollutants.
For stress, time, cost, accuracy and other reasons, we typically recommend going with option B and just doing a single comprehensive indoor air quality test.
This 72-hour silent indoor air quality test takes continuous air samples in different areas throughout your home.
At the end of the test period, you receive a full-color printed report summarizing findings and providing guidance for remediation efforts.
2. Improve ventilation
The second key step to improving indoor air quality is to make sure that it does not become overly stale.
As the air inside your home becomes stale, it is leached of oxygen. At the same time, pollution levels rise because no fresh air is coming in.
In older-construction homes, natural ventilation typically occurs by way of small cracks and leaks present in the structure itself.
However, since concerns about diminishing natural resources began to increase and we entered the era of airtight construction, this is no longer the case with new-construction buildings. These buildings can be so airtight, no fresh air comes in at all!
There are two main strategies for improving indoor ventilation in any space, whether it’s old or a new build.
The first is as old as the days before air conditioning – simply open a window or door. However, this is really only feasible during more temperate weather, and even then may not be ideal for a variety of reasons.
The second strategy is to add mechanical ventilation – a set of artificial lungs, if you will. The heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, is the tool of choice for this job. Because of new airtight construction standards, HRV installation is now a requirement to meet building codes in Toronto.
Heat recovery ventilators not only ensure a steady supply of fresh incoming air, but they also send excess humidity packing and recycle heat energy to lower your energy bills.
3. Clean the air
The third key step to improving your indoor air quality is to actively clean your indoor air. A variety of tools exist to accomplish this job.
Here is where your indoor air quality test results really come in handy. By understanding the predominant pollution sources inside your space, you can better match the air cleaners you select to the tasks at hand.
We recommend two air cleaners because each one addresses a different set of indoor air pollution sources.
The HEPA filtration system addresses solid (particulate) pollutants. These airborne micro-particles are often impossible to see with the naked eye, but you can certainly feel their presence with a variety of health symptoms that range from watery eyes to brain fog.
Modern HEPA filtration systems can be retrofitted to work with any style of HVAC, including ducted and ductless systems.
HEPA filters can easily catch and trap floating particulates that are as small as 1/100th of a single human hair!
The ultraviolet air purification system, in contrast, addresses gaseous and liquid pollutants. Like solid micro-particles, you likely won’t ever see these airborne pollutants, but you will feel them in your scratchy throat and aching head.
UV air purification systems make use of a synthetic version of the sun’s own ultraviolet light – in this case, the strongest band of UV light, UV-C. Applying UV-C to floating gaseous or liquid particles changes their structure and renders them harmless.
Here again, today’s advanced ultraviolet air purifiers can be retrofitted to work with any style of HVAC, including ducted and ductless.
Get in Touch
Do you need guidance as you begin the process of improving your indoor air quality at home, work or school? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.