What Is Indoor Air Quality?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indoor air quality is a measure of the quality of the air inside and around buildings, especially in regard to the comfort and health of the people who use those buildings.
Unfortunately, a growing body of research clearly shows that the indoor air quality in a home can be much worse than the outdoor air in cities with some of the worst air pollution. You and your family might be more at risk of low-quality air in your own home than you are outside.
In some cases, indoor air pollution causes immediate health problems, which can range from an irritated throat, nose and eyes to fatigue, dizziness and headaches. For people who have an existing respiratory condition, it can cause shortness of breath, wheezing and — for those with asthma — asthma attacks. In other cases, the effects look a lot like the symptoms of a cold or flu.
Indoor air pollution can also have serious long-term health effects that usually occur as a result of prolonged or repeated exposure. These effects can include the onset of respiratory disease, cancer and heart disease. In such cases, symptoms may be slow to appear — which is why it’s so prudent to be proactive about improving your home’s IAQ.
So what exactly causes low indoor air quality? Indoor air pollutants that can come from a number of sources, including:
- Volatile organic compounds — or VOCs — are chemical gases released from a range of liquids and solids, including paint, fuel and wax, as well as many disinfecting, cosmetic and cleaning products. In general, VOC levels are between two and five times higher inside a home than outdoors, regardless of whether that home is located in an industrial or rural area.
- Particulate matter — or PM — is a mix of minuscule liquid droplets and particles. The size of the particles — which can include dust, pollen and mold — is what makes them so dangerous, since they’re so small that you can easily breathe them in. Once they enter the lungs, they can also affect the heart.
- High humidity occurs when indoor humidity levels are more than 60 percent. According to SmarterHouse.org, when moist air condenses on cold surfaces, moisture accumulates, which attracts dust mites and promotes the growth of mildew and mold. For this reason, humidity management inside the home is extremely important.
What Is the Purpose of Indoor Air Quality Enhancing Services?
Clearly, indoor air pollutants can originate from many different sources inside the home. That’s precisely what makes them so challenging to control. At Tuckey Mechanical Services, we use the latest in so-called “capture and kill” technology to eliminate volatile organic compounds and particulate matter as well as to manage humidity.
The HVAC systems we install may optionally be equipped with highly advanced technology that captures harmful pollutants such as mold spores, dust particles and even airborne bacteria. The system then purges these pollutants from the air and subsequently emits only purified air that’s healthier to breathe. If you have allergies, a respiratory disease or any other health condition, the simple installation of one of our air management systems can greatly improve your indoor air quality — as well as your health and overall quality of life.
Unlike regular air filters that offer only basic filtration, the optional upgraded systems we can install are specifically designed to eliminate a wide range of air pollutants with maximum efficiency. With the simple installation of one of our custom-tailored solutions, you can regain your health and that of your loved ones — and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable living environment.
Tuckey’s Approach to Improving Indoor Air Quality
At Tuckey Mechanical Services, we understand that each family and each home has their own unique requirements. That’s why, instead of offering only cookie-cutter solutions, we take the time to sit down with you to truly understand what your needs are. For example, perhaps you suffer from allergies and want to reduce the amount of dust in the air. Or maybe your child suffers from asthma and needs a more comprehensive solution that also addresses mold spores and airborne viruses.
Whatever your situation is, we’ll carefully listen to your needs and offer solutions that meet your requirements — as well as your budget. If you’re a homeowner looking for cleaner indoor air in South Central Pennsylvania, you can’t go wrong with the residential air quality solutions that we provide. Of course, we’re not your doctor, and you should always seek qualified medical help in determining the exact causes and treatments for you and your family’s respiratory ailments. But when your doctor advises you to improve your IAQ, we’re here to help.
We’ve been named a best in class business for 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Cumberland County residents according to the Carlisle Sentinel poll. When you have us install an air quality solution in your home, you can count on it to work effectively and reduce the occurrence of pollutants in your air.
Since our team consists of professional HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians, you can also rest assured that the system we install will make the most sense for your home’s energy consumption. It’s why we’re proud of our “A” rating from Angie’s List, since nothing speaks so clearly to the quality of our service as the positive reviews of our pleased clients.
Remember that aggravating respiratory problems ranging from headaches and sneezing to allergies and asthma attacks can all be greatly reduced — but only if you improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe. Opening windows and doing a quick dusting may only disturb mites, mold spores and other pollutants — or worse, allow more to enter your home. Fortunately, after consulting with us at Tuckey and installing an indoor air quality solution that meets the needs of your home and family, you can begin to breathe easier from the moment the system is activated.
Common Misconceptions About Indoor Air Quality Solutions
The following are all misconceptions and falsehoods associated with air quality that you’re much better off knowing the truth about:
- New homes automatically have good IAQ: While newer homes typically have better insulation and windows than older homes, that can be a problem when it comes to IAQ. According to recent statistics, newer homes that are super-insulated can contain 200 percent more allergens than those with more traditional insulation. “Tight” modern homes perform much better when it comes to energy consumption and management, but oftentimes don’t allow the building to “breathe” properly. Without an air quality solution at work, people living in more modern homes can actually be exposing themselves to more pollutants that are locked inside.
- Basic central air systems remove pollutants: While many HVAC systems come with air filters, these filters are typically not equipped to remove VOCs. In addition, a poorly maintained HVAC system — as well as ductwork that hasn’t been regularly cleaned — can actually add to and spread pollutants throughout your home.
- Dry air just needs to be humidified to be healthy: It’s true that relative humidity levels usually decrease in the winter. However, simply raising the level of humidity in an indoor space doesn’t make the IAQ automatically better. As a matter of fact, since bacteria, fungi and mold spores thrive in wet, moist environments, humidifying indoor air without cleaning it can have significant detrimental effects on the IAQ of a home.
- If you can’t see or smell a problem, then there isn’t one: From carbon monoxide to radon, there are many odorless, colorless toxins and VOCs that can go undetected in a home. Plus, tiny microbial pollutants might not be visible to the eye, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pose a problem to your respiratory system. A single ounce of dust in your home can contain as many as 40,000 dust mites.
- Improving IAQ is very expensive: Of all the misconceptions we encounter, probably none is so widespread as the misunderstanding regarding the costs of an air quality solution system. Many homeowners either settle for a second-rate filtration system — or worse, don’t even research how much a professionally installed system will run them — because they wrongly assume any solution will be out of their price range. This belief simply couldn’t be more untrue. We install air quality solutions to meet all needs — and budgets.
Types of Products That Are Available for Indoor Air Quality Solutions
With Tuckey on the job, you can be assured of an IAQ solution that meets the needs of your household. Here’s a brief description of some of the most common air quality solutions that we install on a regular basis:
- Media filters are often fiber based and tested to be in accordance with HEPA — or High-Efficiency Particulate Air — standards. Quality media filters are capable of removing many types of particulates and pollutants — including mold spores — from a home’s air.
- Electronic air cleaners typically make use of a prefilter to trap large pieces of dust and dander, then use an electronically charged filter to draw in and collect much smaller pollutants like mold spores and bacteria.
- Ultraviolet air purifiers use much the same technology as what hospitals employ for purifying their equipment. In this method, an ultraviolet light passes over the air supply and neutralizes any airborne pathogens.
- Humidifiers are used to keep indoor air comfortable. Excessive dryness, especially during the winter and/or in extremely arid climates, can cause skin, throat, lip and nose irritations — not to mention, humidified air can help lessen the symptoms often associated with the flu and the common cold.
- Dehumidifiers are used to reduce excessive moisture levels in the home that make it a breeding ground for mold spores, dust mites and other microorganisms. A dehumidifier can help control the relative humidity of your home, allowing your HVAC system to work less in order to keep your indoor temperature comfortable.
- Ventilators allow a home to breathe by drawing in outside air in a measured and controlled fashion. Especially for newer homes that are often super-insulated, a mechanical ventilation system is a good idea to keep indoor air fresh, moving and properly balanced.
Tuckey: The Name to Trust for Your Home’s IAQ
Since 1968, Tuckey Mechanical Services has met the heating, air conditioning and air quality needs of South Central Pennsylvania’s homes. Our well-known expertise, professionalism and tailored solutions are why you can count on us when your family’s health and comfort are at stake.
For more information about the latest IAQ solutions from Tuckey, contact us today.