Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Indoor Air Quality Part 1

Well, let’s look at why you may want to consider indoor air treatment for your living space.

Ever heard of that “new car smell”? Some people love it and some people can’t stand it. Or how about the nice clean smell of freshly installed carpet. Wait do people still install carpet or has hardwoods won out as the preference? Anyway, hear I go again on a ramble. Those lovely and somewhat accomplished smells are what we affectionally call VOCs. Just a fancy way of saying volatile organic compounds.

I am going to assume that most of you reading this post have heard of this term by now. But to some, it may be a new term, so since this is a place of education some of you will need to bare with me as I attempt to educate people on the topic of indoor air quality as it relates to VOCs.

VOCs are extremely toxic and harmful

Wow, that's a big statement, right? Well did you know that VOCs are linked to a range of health problems, including some very serious diseases. Some health effects include kidney damage, liver damage, damage to the central nervous system (including the brain), as well as more minor complaints like headaches and eye, throat and nose irritation. This is by no means a scare tactic but a way to inform people. Even simple things that we do on a daily basic can be affecting the health of our families. An example of that would be, the common air freshener or candle that we light to “freshen” the air. Little things like that can be really toxic.

Now I am not suggesting that we all go out and rip up the carpets and trash all the beautifully expensive candles that we have collected over the years. But we need to understand that because of the way technology and building codes have changed we are sealed up tight as a button in our homes. All in the name of saving energy. Which is a good thing but there is a consequence, no fresh air.

Indoor Air Quality Facts

  • People spend 75-90% of their time indoors
  • Exposure to airborne contamination is considerable.
  • 50% of all major office buildings have contaminated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). If not properly maintained, they are a hotbed for growth of molds and bacteria.
  • Each person inhales over 3,500 gallons of air each day. Children inhale more particles for their size then adolescents or adults.
  • Polluted air causes 94% of all respiratory problems.
  • More than 31 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, about 1/3 are children under 18.
  • About 40,000 dust mites, a common household allergen, can live in one ounce of dust.
  • An estimated 10-15% of the entire population may be allergic to cat or dog dander.
  • A person sheds up to 700,000 skin flakes per day.

Two types of Indoor Air Methods:

Before we go any further we need to stop here and take a look at the two main methods use today to clean the indoor air.

Air Filtration and air purification. There is an industry rule of thumb: “If it is alive you have to kill it.” “If it is dead you have to trap it.”

What is the difference between air filtration and air purification? Well, let me explain:

Filtration-Is the collection of particles ONLY. This does not purify the air.

Air Purification- These are products that actually break down the VOCs into their simpler parts leaving clean air or “purified air”. (UV Light.)

Look for the next blog post to learn ways you can improve your own air in your home.