Exploring Air Quality: The Importance of Ventilation & Maintenance
We tend to associate the word pollution with the air outside. We think of pollutants as that which we find in smoggy city air, waterways, dirty rivers, etc. The truth is, however, that pollutants can very much thrive in our own homes, especially if we do not let airflow or if our ventilation is working properly or has not been recently checked. Indoor air quality is not something many people think about often. Many times, people will suffer from allergies and unknowingly blame the air outside or the pollen of the new season, when some of the allergens may be in the place where they sleep and spend a lot of time.
Indoor Air Quality
Natural ventilation used to be the way to go when it came to the question of replacing indoor air with fresh outdoor air. This depended on several factors, of course, including outdoor temperatures, winds, etc. If you try opening a window on a mild day with no blowing breeze, there is no way to control the airflow.
Today, that method is not used as readily, seeing that most modern homes tend to be and want to be sealed for energy efficiency. Natural ventilation is uncontrolled and offers little moisture support. It's why people open up their windows less today since homes are often equipped with central heating and cooling systems and the temperature control is far more sophisticated. So this begs the question: how do homes ensure the quality of their indoor air? There are several ways this happens and ensuring a functioning and efficient ventilation system is a primary concern.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality on Health and Beyond
Most people spend a considerable amount of time indoors, whether it be our home, office, or other building. This means we are constantly exposed to allergens and pollens when we go outside but also when we enter a building. While it's difficult to control the air in other places, our homes' air quality is highly important to our health.
Common pollutants found in the home can include:
- Second-hand smoke: This is a serious air pollutant that can exacerbate respiratory conditions and even lead to cancer.
- Radon: Identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer, radon is a dangerous pollutant that can sneak into your home through cracks or improperly sealed homes.
- Combustion pollutants: this includes gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide that comes from improperly vented equipment like space heaters, wood stoves, and more.
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
You've likely heard the phrase, ‘the silent killer.' This is often assigned to carbon monoxide, as it is known to be a very dangerous gas that is not easily detected by the human olfactory system. It has been estimated in past years that up to 20,000 to 30,000 people become ill by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This makes it very hard to detect and emphasizes the importance of having a reliable and effective way of monitoring your indoor air for this gas.
Clean air can prevent and help with conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Types of Ventilation Systems
Ventilation systems are a big component of HVAC. It ties the whole system together. Without it, there is no way for the indoor air to refresh and re-oxygenate itself. This causes symptoms in a building's inhabitants including memory fog, headaches, and respiratory illnesses. In order to ensure your home has the proper ventilation system, there needs to be adequate maintenance and attention, as systems can stop working, get clogged, or simply suffer regular wear and tear.
There are generally four major ways a home can use a ventilation system. A home's ventilation system is comprised of fans, vents, and ventilation equipment that work together to resupply air. These include:
- Spot ventilation. This uses fans around the house to circulate air. This includes the use of localized exhaust fans like the ones above your stove or bathroom fans.
- Exhaust ventilation. This system works by pressurizing the building. This system is more readily used in colder climates.
- Supply ventilation. This works like exhaust ventilation in the sense of pressurizing the building. They use fans to force outside air inside while the air leaks outside through holes in the shell, bath and range-fan ducts, and intentional vents.
Breathe Easy with B&G Air Conditioning
It might be time to check your ventilation system and ensure that your indoor air quality is good and healthy. We provide free in-home consultation with one of our HVAC specialists so they can come by and check it out.
To aid and ensure the efficiency of your filtration system, we also provide air filtration products, humidifiers, fresh air ventilators, ultra violet lights, carbon monoxide detectors, and zoning and programmable thermostats. Call the experts today.