Indoor Air Quality FAQs
Answers to some frequently asked indoor air quality questions from premier Sarasota area air conditioning company Baker & Sons Air Conditioning.
What Should I do if I Think I Have An IAQ Problem?
It’s likely that you have an indoor air quality issue if you and members of your family find that you often feel ill at home, but better when you go anywhere else. A common problem, and one of the first things you should check, is a dirty air filter in your home’s heating and cooling system. Clean and replace filters as necessary to maintain your indoor air quality.Air and surface sampling by a qualified HVAC technician is necessary to detect different types of toxic compounds in your home’s air. The surface sampling will detect mold on dry surfaces, while the air sampling will tell the technician how many spores and other particulates are present, as well as how many of them can reproduce. These tests will let you know what you’re dealing with and if any action needs to be taken.
Does Outdoor Air Quality Relate to Indoor Air Quality?
Outdoor air pollution is generally reduced by 10-90% because it’s absorbed by buildings and their ventilation and air filtration systems. For this reason, filtration systems must be properly maintained so indoor air pollution doesn’t become a problem. Both home and commercial HVAC systems depend on drawing in outside air, so regular maintenance is recommended in all cases.
Are Indoor Air Quality Issues Serious?
Depending on the issue, indoor air quality problems can be serious. Exposure to combustion products like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, depression, memory loss and potentially death. Lung damage, brain damage, cancer and even death can be caused by long-term exposure to mold spores. Radon gas alone can cause lung cancer.Bioaerosols like viruses, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander in the air can aggravate asthma. Even though asthma attacks are rarely fatal, the potential is there, and asthma symptoms in general are no picnic.Homes that use natural gas or oil should be tested for carbon monoxide and should have detectors installed for continued monitoring.
How Common are Indoor Air Quality Problems?
While it’s shocking to learn that up to thirty percent of commercial buildings have serious indoor air quality issues, the figure for homes is even scarier. Ninety-six percent of homes tested in North America have at least one IAQ problem. Eighty-six percent of them had high levels of pollen, dust and viruses, while seventy-one tested positive for chemicals and gases that are potentially harmful.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is just what it sounds like – the quality of the air inside a home or other building. Rather than the inside temperature, indoor air quality (or IAQ) relates more to contaminants, gases, germs and allergens in the air. IAQ also often relates to humidity level because air that is too dry or too moist can lead to a whole host of problems.Formaldehyde and radon are among the more common gases that cause issues with indoor air quality. Particulates like bacteria, mold spores, viruses and other airborne particles are other contaminants indoor air quality.