Whatever you do, don’t take a deep breath – the air quality inside your house could be as much as 100 times worse than the outside air! Don’t worry, though – if you’re like most families in the Baltimore area, your indoor air quality probably isn’t bad enough to cause any alarm. Still, there are a lot of surprising facts about indoor air quality in Maryland that might make you think twice about installing an electronic air cleaner!
Indoor Air Quality Facts
- According to the American College of Allergies, as much as 50% of all illnesses are aggravated (or caused!) by poor indoor air.
- The EPA has said that poor indoor air quality is the number one environmental health problem.
- Modern construction techniques to make homes more energy efficient have actually caused indoor air quality to get even worse! Most homes these days are built to be airtight, keeping in conditioned air from your heater or air conditioner – as well as contaminants that get into the air.
- The more insulated your home is, the worse your indoor air quality will be. In fact, a recent study found that the allergen level in super-insulated homes is 200% higher than less insulated homes!
- According to a report published by Scientific America, a baby crawling on the floor will inhale the equivalent of four cigarettes a day! Most of this comes from the outgassing of carpets, mold, mildew, fungi, dust mites, etc.
So what can you do about it?
Those statistics are pretty shocking, but like we said – you’re most likely not in any immediate danger. That said, you can make your family even safer by installing an indoor air cleaner in your home! Indoor air cleaners act as a second (usually much more powerful) filter to catch microbes and particulates in your air before you breathe them in. There are two major types of indoor air cleaners, each effective against slightly different things:
HEPA air cleaners
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) air filters are the most powerful air filters around, capable of trapping dust, smoke, pollen, pet dander, dust mites and other particles as small as .3 microns in size. Air cleaners using HEPA filters can also be fitted with UV light systems to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi that end up in the filter.
HEPA air cleaners are most effective at pulling pollutants out of the air in the room they are in. In fact, most people who use HEPA air cleaners use several at the same time – in bedrooms, home offices and family rooms. Also, when picking out a HEPA air cleaner, choose one with at least eight exchanges per hour. Anything less than this will probably not make a noticeable difference in your indoor air quality.
Ozone ionizer air cleaners
Ozone ionizer air cleaners are most effective at destroying bacteria, odors and viruses, making them particularly good at combating odors from cigarette smokers. The way ozone ionizers work is by creating a layer of ozone which penetrates the cell structure of the odor, bacteria or viruses. This ruptures the cell wall and destroys the contaminant.
After the ozonation process has occurred, the ozone ionizer air cleaner begins the process of ionization. There are two types of ionization:
- Needlepoint ionization uses ions to negatively charge the air directly in front of the air cleaner. This causes the air molecules to bond to pollutants in the air, dragging them down to the ground. Needlepoint ionizers usually have an operable range of about five to seven ft around the air cleaner.
- Radio ionization uses harmless radio waves that ionize the air in a 50 ft radius, even through walls. Depending on where the radio ionizer is located, one single air conditioner can cover an entire home!
If you live in Baltimore, Maryland and are in need of allergy or asthma relief, or you just want to clean up the air in your home or office, contact All Seasons Heating & Cooling today!