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.