That brown cloud that occasionally hangs over the Valley may have convinced you that outdoor air pollution in the area is worse than indoor air pollution. While the particulate and ozone levels reach unhealthy levels outside periodically, it’s likely you’re breathing less healthy air indoors far more frequently.

A recently released survey found that the majority of Americans equate high air quality with good health, but that 76 percent of participants reported using products indoors that degrade indoor air quality (IAQ). Most respondents knew that keeping the air filter for their HVAC system clean improved IAQ, but 47 percent of them didn’t change them frequently enough to realize the benefits of filtration.

Fortunately, you can use your HVAC system to lower the amount of indoor air pollution.

Ventilation

You can equip your home or HVAC system with an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) to exhaust stale indoor air and pull in fresh air without bringing in all the heat associated with opening windows or doors. During the summer, an ERV removes the heat energy from incoming air to keep cooling costs down. During the winter, heat energy is extracted from outgoing air and used to condition cooler incoming air to save on heating.

Source Control

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come from household cleaners, glues, paint, new carpeting and furniture, as well as exhaust from fuel-powered vehicles and yard equipment. VOCs cause minor to major health problems, including cancer and neurological problems. When choosing products, look for the clean air label or one that states it has no or low VOCs. Seal the connecting door between your home and garage, as well as any leaks on the common wall, to prevent VOCs from seeping in.

Filtration

Besides changing the air filter routinely, consider a whole-house air cleaner to use with your HVAC system, especially if airborne allergies are a problem. These systems effectively trap the particles that cause many allergies, including dust, pollen, dander and dust mite waste. Coupled with ultraviolet (UV) lights, they’ll minimize damage from VOCs and lower the population of mold, bacteria and viruses.

For more help combat indoor air pollution, contact Wolff Mechanical. We’ve been proudly servicing Valley homeowners for more than two decades.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Risto Viita/Shutterstock”