Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is a growing concern for Americans. Indoor air pollution can negatively impact your health in the short and long term. Studies show that it’s particularly harmful to children, seniors, and those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory conditions. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure that your home is a healthy environment for breathing.

IAQ Testing

Radon is a gas that can seep into your home from the ground, and it can appear suddenly. This gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind only tobacco smoking. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing for radon every other year or whenever you perform a major home renovation.

When you test for radon, it’s an excellent time to have a broader professional IAQ test. Your tester will evaluate both temperature and airborne moisture. The test will also encompass airborne particulate matter (PM) and other pollutants and contaminants. Those include mold, chemicals, and gases, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

You may also want to consider an IAQ monitor for the home. It can measure PM levels plus relative humidity (RH) and various gases and chemicals. A discrete IAQ monitor is an option, or you can purchase a smart thermostat that integrates all these features and supports remote sensors.

Heating and Cooling

Your heating and cooling systems can benefit or harm your IAQ depending on your approach. If you don’t dust often enough and don’t schedule routine HVAC maintenance, your system will likely make your IAQ troubles worse. If, on the other hand, you do control dust and schedule regular maintenance, your system will help you maintain good IAQ.

Schedule a heating tune-up in the fall and a cooling tune-up in the spring. During that maintenance appointment, your technician will clean all the HVAC equipment of dust and grime. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) advises scheduling a duct inspection annually. That inspection can coincide with your fall or spring tune-up. The EPA recommends cleaning the ducts as needed to remove all dust and other substances.

It’s wise to discuss minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) with your HVAC technician. MERV measures air filter effectiveness but also how much the filter restricts airflow. Find out the highest MERV rating your system supports. This is usually between MERV 8 and 13.

Ventilation

Ventilation is the process of providing air and removing it from a space. This process can either be intentional or unintentional. It is a crucial concept in maintaining good IAQ.

Builders design modern homes with a tight building envelope to maximize energy efficiency. But most of those homes have only passive attic ventilation. That may not be enough even when your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace is running. If the ventilation is inadequate, pollutants build up in the home, and pollution levels can be much higher indoors than outdoors.

The solution to this problem is mechanical ventilation. Your HVAC technician can integrate a whole-house fan into your central system. There are also attic fans that have their own ducts, which can be useful if you have a ductless mini-split. Attic fans can run alongside your heating and cooling system or on their own to deliver the fresh air your home needs. A ventilation fan does this without adding pollutants.

Too much natural ventilation isn’t good, either. Natural ventilation can be unintentional, such as air seeping through wall cracks in an old home. If you believe this is your issue, schedule a home energy audit. You can then reseal your home where needed.

Air Pollution Control

The air that enters your home from the outside has pollutants and contaminants in it, too. Your HVAC filter helps in some regard, but you’ll need some form of air purification to combat those impurities effectively. There are many different types of whole-home purification systems. These are solutions that you can install either on your HVAC system’s supply side or return side, including the ducts.

Mechanical filtration refers to removing particulate matter from the air. Many air purifiers have prefilters designed to protect the system by trapping the largest particles. HEPA filtration is commonly used for primary mechanical filtration. It’s effective at trapping both large and fine PM.

Many air purifiers also have an absorptive filtration stage. Such stages use a substance like activated charcoal. It can absorb bad smells, smoke, fumes, chemicals, and gases. It’s effective because what it absorbs is no longer active and harmful.

Another common option is ultraviolet radiation. The most popular form of this filtration type is UV lamps that you can install in your ducts. UV-C is a germicidal light that can decrease the presence of bacteria and viruses in the home. It can also neutralize dust mite eggs, mold spores, and fungal spores.

Professional IAQ Services in Oak Hills

If you live in Oak Hills, CA or the surrounding areas and need professional IAQ assistance, JC Energy Solutions is here for you. Our IAQ team specializes in ventilation, humidity control, and air purification, including UV lamps. Our HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair ductless mini-splits, air conditioners, heat pumps, and electric and gas furnaces. We also have plumbers who install and service tank and tankless water heaters.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact JC Energy Solutions today.

JC Energy Solutions

company icon