Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Understanding How Air Pollutants Get in Your Home

Air pollutants in your home can be a source of irritation or even illness. Inside the enclosed environment of today’s tightly-sealed energy-efficient houses, pollutants may concentrate at levels that far exceed the outdoor environment, where they are diluted by fresh air. There are a number of ways that air pollutants accumulate inside a house and become a problem.

Take these proactive steps to reduce the extent and minimize adverse effects:

Change the Air Filter

A dirty HVAC system air filter not only filters ineffectively, the captured pollutants in the filter media will gradually be released to re-circulate into the air of your home. The filter should be checked monthly and replaced with a fresh filter every other month.

Maintain Proper Humidity

Excessive water vapor in indoor air triggers growth of indoor mold that continuously releases microscopic airborne spores. These contaminants are a known source of allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Keep indoor humidity between 30 - 50 percent to discourage mold growth.

Ventilate Wisely

A healthy influx of fresh air helps dilute indoor pollution and flush out tainted humid air. Open windows when outdoor conditions permit and keep indoor air moving with cross-ventilation.

Balance the Air

When indoor air pressure is less than outdoor air pressure, pollutants may be sucked indoors from tainted areas like the attic or crawl space through structural gaps and cracks. A depressurized house can also draw harmful exhaust gases from the furnace or water heater back into the home (called “backdrafting”). Homes may become depressurized by running kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans excessively. Also, leakage from HVAC ductwork can unbalance system airflow and depressurize rooms.

Test for Radon

It’s a naturally-occurring gas emitted by the soil in many locales and has been linked to higher incidence of cancer. Radon seeps up into houses and may accumulate to unhealthy levels. Home test kits are available to test for radon. If a positive test shows the presence of radon, measures can be taken to prevent infiltration/accumulation of the gas.

For more ways to keep air pollutants from accumulating inside your house, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).