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Indoor Air Pollution – Fact or Fiction?

Let’s spend a little time on a topic that is often ignored — the crisis of indoor air pollution. This is a problem that is only going to get worse as we in the industry build homes that are more and more energy efficient and have less and less outdoor air infiltration.

The EPA and several other national organizations all state that indoor air quality is consistently deteriorating and may be the root cause of allergies, asthma, and even cancer. So just as the plumber protects the health of the nation with water, it is up to the HVAC industry to protect your health by providing clean air.

One of my favorite tools is my micron particle counter (shown in the accompanying image). That little device allows me to test the air in your home vs. the outdoor air and provides you with a true assessment of the air quality. The way it works is simple. Within one minute, the unit pulls a single cubic foot of air through it and counts all the particulate in that sample.

We are measuring a diameter of .03 microns, and to put that into perspective, a typical human hair is 30 microns in diameter. We take three different samples outside of the home and average them, and then the process is repeated within the interior of your home. We are looking to have the indoor particulate count at 25% of whatever the outdoor counts are. In other words, if my outdoor counts are at one million I want indoor counts to be below 250,000. What I usually find is that the typical home often has double or even triple the counts inside vs. out. So as usual, the question becomes what should we do?

The first thing is to have an assessment done of the home’s duct system and ensure that it is sealed correctly and not pulling attic air into it through bad connections. Once we know that the duct work is properly sealed we can then explore different options in terms of air filtration or UV light systems to help purify the air.

Again, depending on the space available, there are different levels of filtration that will in some cases filter out particulates all the way down to the above referenced .03 microns. We can also show you UV lights that will prevent biological growth on the interior of the air conditioner.

What I feel is one of the cooler solutions out there is a unit that will take the moisture in the air and generate a 50 part per million hydrogen peroxide mist. Yes, it is the same hydrogen peroxide you use on cuts, only in a vapor form vs. liquid. The EPA did a study that said levels of hydrogen peroxide in the air are safe up to 500 parts per million so no worries there. And if you’re thinking that device would help prevent germ growth on surfaces in the home you would be one hundred percent correct.

As always my friends, if you have indoor air quality solutions concerns and would like to explore your options we are a simple phone call away. I‘m off to Plantation to check on an AC system that is giving one of our clients a lot of worries. Always nice not having air on a ninety degree summer day …or not.
House Whisperer out!

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