Why You Need an Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Have you ever thought of getting an indoor quality monitor? Probably not. But you should.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.”
If you or members of your family have frequent headaches, eye irritations, sneezing, and/or sore throats, it could be seasonal allergies or a common cold going around; it could also be poor indoor air quality.
Even if you aren’t having these symptoms, the EPA recommendation is that it is always prudent to try to improve indoor air quality.
But, if you aren’t coughing and otherwise feel fine, how could you know if your indoor air quality is actually poor?
That’s why you need an indoor air quality monitor.
Let’s take a look at four common indoor pollutants that are potentially present in your home, that an indoor air quality monitor can detect:
- Carbon dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the fourth most present gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. Inside the atmosphere of your house, humans are constantly emitting carbon dioxide (CO2), whenever they breathe out. Normally you wouldn’t consider carbon dioxide a pollutant (although inside levels exceeding 1,000 parts per million is considered the maximum, where it can lead to health implications). However, you do want an indoor air quality monitor to measure carbon dioxide as a way to evaluate your home ventilation system. If you have excessive carbon dioxide levels, it means the air movement isn’t exhausting the CO2 properly. That is a cause for concern because if carbon dioxide is lingering in the rooms of your house, it means other, more harmful, pollutants are lingering as well.
Particulates (also known as atmospheric aerosols) are microscopic particles of solids and/or liquids suspended in air. Wood smoke is one source of potentially dangerous particulate matter; particulates below 2.5 microns (PM2.5) are correlated with cardiovascular, lung, and other organ damage, and are even associated with birth defects. PM2.5 is difficult to accurately measure, which is why we don’t recommend a low-cost indoor air quality monitor.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gasses emitted from furniture, clothes, rugs, paints, cleaning products, personal care products, and cosmetics. In other words, just about everything in your house. VOCs include such toxic chemicals as benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene, which can cause respiratory issues and, over long-term exposure, cancer. According to some studies, the concentration of VOCs is usually two to five times higher inside homes than outside, and it can be up to 10 times higher, according to the EPA. Researchers with the EPA have also found that some VOCs can remain in indoor air for several hours at levels up to 1,000 times the levels outdoors.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. According to the EPA, breathing radon over time increases the risk of lung cancer; in fact, only smoking results in more lung cancer deaths. Radon occurs naturally in the ground and leaks into your home through cracks and holes in your home’s foundation; if you have a sump pump with a drain in your foundation, you have a wide-open channel for radon to come into your home. An indoor air quality monitor can tell you if you have potentially dangerous levels of radon. There are also companies that specialize in radon testing and mitigation.
How To Improve IAQ
The best indoor air quality monitors keep track of pollutants like carbon dioxide, particulates, VOCs, and other hazards such as radon. Indoor air quality monitors also keep track of other common household irritants such as pollen and dust.
So what happens if you detect any indoor pollutants that are affecting your health? Eliminating airborne contaminants is often faster, easier, and more affordable than you might think. The right indoor air quality solutions can help you and your family enjoy:
- Improved health, mood, and comfort
- Deeper, more restful sleep
- Less dust and better HVAC system performance
- Easier breathing
The best way to positively improve your indoor air quality is to upgrade your air filtration. Central air filtration systems are installed on the return air side of your HVAC system, either at the indoor unit or the return air filter grill. While the primary job of air filters is to keep your air and cooling system running smoothly and efficiently, air filters also improve the overall cleanliness of your indoor air by removing airborne particulates.
People sometimes confuse air filtration with air purification. The basic difference is that air filters trap certain dust and dirt particles, while an air purifier uses ionization to remove particles most air filtration systems cannot contain. While every HVAC unit uses air filters, an air purification system is an add-on. Consult your certified HVAC service technician if you are interested in adding an air purifier.
Ongaro & Sons offers several high-end filtration and air sanitation systems to provide protection against harmful pollutants. Air cleaners and high-efficiency filters are especially effective at trapping dust, dander, pollen, and other particulate matter.
To achieve the best IAQ, consider installing an Aerus Air Scrubber. These cutting-edge air purification systems use patented RCI ActivePure technology to generate powerful oxidizers that are dispersed throughout your home. These harmless oxidizers actively neutralize particulates and microorganisms, eliminating odors and producing a cleaner, fresher, healthier home for the whole family.
Consult the IAQ Experts—Ongaro & Sons
Ongaro & Sons certified technicians can help you assess your home’s IAQ and propose the most effective air filtration and ventilation solutions to protect your family’s health and well-being.
Installing and maintaining an air filtration system or air purifier requires professional skills and experience. Call the IAQ specialists at Ongaro & Sons. We are Trane Comfort Specialists certified in high-efficiency HVAC systems and indoor air quality. As we like to say, “Ongaro & Sons puts the V back into HVAC.”