In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people ask what they can do to make their homes safer and healthier. Consequently, indoor air quality has become a large concern now that we know that viruses like the COVID-19 virus are transmitted through the air. Below, we discuss how your home’s air can become polluted and what you can do to combat germs and viruses.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution
According to the EPA, the air inside our homes can be significantly more polluted than the air outdoors, even in large cities. Consequently, the more time you spend inside, the more likely you will suffer the effects of poor indoor air quality. Studies have also demonstrated that we spend 90% of our time indoors. This makes it more important than ever to ensure that our home’s air quality is as good as it can be.
Common causes of indoor air pollution include:
- Systems, appliances, or activities that release gases or particles into the air
- Products or materials that emit pollutants
- Inadequate or improper ventilation
- High humidity
- High temperatures
Even your pets can contribute to the pollution in your home. Pet danger is one of the most common sources of allergies.
Common Pollutants in Our Homes
You may be surprised by how many different activities can release pollutants into your home. Smoking, cooking, and even cleaning can emit particles into the air. Meanwhile, a gas stove or furnace in disrepair may be emitting carbon monoxide into your home. A poorly maintained air duct system may release mold spores and other particles. Without proper ventilation, these pollutants can cause you discomfort, health problems, and in the case of carbon monoxide, they may even be deadly.
Pollutants We Carry In
In addition to the pollutants already existing in our homes, we may also bring contaminants in with us. For example, if you pick up a cold from work, it is not uncommon for your whole family to come down with it. When we are sick, we spread cold and flu germs when we cough, sneeze or simply breathe. When you live in close proximity to someone, it is very easy for those germs to spread, especially if your home’s indoor air quality is already suffering.
How to Combat Germs & Viruses
If your home’s indoor air quality is suffering, you may experience negative health effects. Common symptoms of poor air quality in your home include headaches, congestion, difficulty breathing, irritated eyes, nausea, and dizziness. You may also find colds more difficult to shake. However, there are measures you can take to improve your indoor air quality and combat germs and viruses from spreading in your home.
Air Filters & Purifiers
HVAC systems are generally equipped with a basic air filter. This filter can go a long way in removing larger particles and pollutants in your home. They can also help reduce dust and dirt. However, they need to be changed regularly. We recommend changing your air filter every three months. If you suffer from asthma or allergies or have pets, you might want to change it more frequently.
To further purify the air in your home, you can install a whole-home air purifier. These are installed in your home’s ductwork and purify the air as it passes through. These units utilize various air purification technologies and are a lot more sensitive than the standard flat filters in your HVAC system. This means that they can filter out smaller particles and molecules, providing you with cleaner, healthier air.
If your primary concern is germs and viruses, germicidal UV systems are the way to go. These systems are so effective that they are commonly found in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Special ultraviolet lights are safely installed in your air ducts, where they work to zap germs. The ultraviolet light affects the DNA of germs and viruses, stopping them from being able to reproduce. UV lamps are also effective at killing mold spores.
You may be wondering how a humidifier can help combat germs and viruses. While a humidifier doesn’t directly purify your air, it can help improve the overall quality of your home’s air, and make your home more comfortable. By adding moisture to the air, humidifiers can alleviate many symptoms, such as dry, irritated skin and eyes, and dry nasal passages. They can also help you breathe a little easier. In this way, humidifiers provide great support to your other air purification systems and can improve the overall quality of your home’s air.