Indoor Air Quality – How to Assess Your Home’s IAQ

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When it comes to pollution, Phoenix seems like it would be an ideal location for clean air. With loads of sunshine, not a lot of heavy industry and plenty of wide-open spaces, the Valley of the Sun appears to be a picturesque mix of the charming old west and a trendsetting city of the future. However, on closer inspection, the air we breathe is less than perfect. In fact, data from the EPA confirms that Phoenix is among the top five smoggiest cities in the U.S. totaling over 100 days of degraded air quality per year. Only Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Atlanta have more bad days.

At Least The Air Inside My Home Is Clean, Isn’t It?

Here’s another shocker – people spend up to 90 percent of their time inside their homes, yet studies confirm that indoor air quality can often be worse than outdoor air. In fact, the EPA says indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality. How can that possibly be, you might ask? In the continuing effort to increase air conditioning and heating energy efficiency, homes are being constructed with ever more effective insulation, air-tight window and door seals and more extensive caulking and weather-stripping. This means, your house is, more or less, a closed system. The air inside your home is recirculated, especially during the summer season when windows stay closed for months at a time.

How Can I Test the Air Quality in My Home?

There are many home indoor air quality monitors available. A quick Google search will produce a long list to choose from. Another air quality indicator is the condition of your air conditioning air filters, which will be checked by our service techs when you schedule a spring tune up. Here is a list of the major IAQ pollution offenders you need to be aware of:

  • Pet Dander – If you have cats or dogs, you know that pet hair and dander can cause strong allergic reactions. The love you get from your pets far outshines their contribution to your indoor air pollution. However, changing the air filters more often will help lower pet dander and particulates.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds – You may have heard the term VOCs in recent years. Construction materials, furniture, flooring, new carpeting, electronic products, cleaning solutions (and so many more household items) emit odors and compounds into the air that can be hazardous to your health. It’s obvious when you are painting your bedroom that fumes and VOCs are being released and can make you sick. Good ventilation is the key to dealing with fumes and VOCs. Speak with our service techs about the ventilation in your house.
  • Pollen and Outdoor Allergens – Spring is here, and pollen is in the air. Outdoor allergens make their way into your home when you, for instance, hold open the door to bring in groceries or deliveries. It’s unavoidable. Your air filters do their best to reduce the effects of outside allergens.

The List Is Long

Unfortunately, the list of irritants, pollutants and indoor air quality detractors is long and complicated. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your IAQ, is change your air filters more often. If you’d like to discuss your IAQ with one of our service technicians, just give us a call. We’ve been improving indoor air quality for thousands of Phoenix residents for years. Call us today.

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