The Hullabaloo Over Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

 

For our regional customers in Glens Falls, Saratoga and Clifton Park NY, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a hot topic. It is also a hot topic in the HVAC trade.  Most of us don’t really understand what the hoopla is all about.  Air is air, right?  Does your home need an indoor air quality filter? While that’s true in the most basic sense, it’s the unseen items in the air that are garnering all the attention.  Over the next few blogs, we’re going to share some general information about IAQ and related terminology.  At the same time, we’ll focus in on some specific products Northern Heating and Air has available to help you breathe easier in your own home.

Years ago, our homes could breathe much more naturally.  By breathe, we mean that the air within the home is exchanged for fresh air from the outside to provide a consistent measure of fresh air to the home.  Air leaks, unsealed openings, and even standard building practices and materials all contributed to a free-breathing home.

Today’s modern homes are a true marvel of engineering.  Energy watchdog groups and concerned consumers jump started a move towards energy efficiency in our homes as far back as the early 70’s.  Advances in the construction and building trade practices coupled with superior product offerings throughout the years have all come together to provide us with what we now refer to as a “tight” home.  Tight is, of course, short for airtight.

While a tight home is desirable for energy efficiency reasons, it can be a detriment to the air quality inside the home.  Stale or contaminated air can become trapped within the space and lead to health concerns for our families.  Germs, bacteria, off-gasses, and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) can be present in unhealthy levels in our homes whenever we have them closed up tight to avoid outside temperatures.  The off-gasses and VOC’s are usually a result of chemicals used in the manufacturing process of home furnishings such as sofas, chairs, drapery, carpeting, etc as well as many cleaning solutions used in the home.  Not so coincidentally, this same time of year is known as cold and flu season.  We’ve all seen how the flu bug can move from one family member to another as it works its’ way through the household.

The first line of defense in combating the sick or unhealthy air in our homes is the air filter on our furnaces. (Click here to learn more about our furnace maintenance and repair) To be perfectly honest, standard furnace filters are as much about maintaining your furnace’s health as they are about your own health.  The filter picks up larger particles of dust, debris, and pet hair to prevent them from damaging the equipment due to build-up while at the same reducing airborne particles dispersed through the home’s ductwork.  Regrettably, for most people, IAQ begins and ends with this $6-$10 pleated filter.

For a great product demo of a true Indoor Air Quality filter, check out our MicroPower Guard Filter in action:

This little workhorse is a true 90 day filter requiring a maximum of only 4 media changes per year.  For Northeasterners like us, it’s likely only 3 changes per year will be necessary as we benefit from those wonderful shoulder seasons of spring and fall where the equipment sits idle for much of the time.  As a nice rule of thumb, we suggest media changes on January 1, June 1, and September 1 of each year.  Call us at (518) 745-0401 for more information on improving your home’s indoor air quality in the Glens Falls, Queensbury, Saratoga, Clifton Park, Ballston Spa region.

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2018-02-08T12:46:48+00:00