In case you haven’t heard… indoor air quality is kind of a big deal.

And if you’ve been noticing that the air in your home doesn’t feel as fresh as it should, you’re probably right. Indoor air is, on average, 2-5x more polluted than the air outdoors. Most homeowners rely on standard pleated filters to keep their air clean, but this method can only go so far. Standard filters work to filter out particulates 1 micron in size or larger, which make up only 1% of the particulates in your indoor air. This means that 99% of the stuff wafting around in your air is not being filtered. And an air filter doesn’t even touch VOC’s, bacteria, or mold spores.

Basically, your indoor air is probably quite a bit dirtier than you could even imagine. But before you start freaking yourselves out, take a moment to read through this handy dandy guide on what specifically affects indoor air quality. We break it up into three categories: particulates, VOC’s, and bacteria/mold. Read on for more info!

What Is A Particulate?

Particulates encompass a great many of the “things” wafting around in your indoor air. Think dust, soot, pollen, and smoke. They are removed from the air via an air filter, which can either be conventional or electronic. Air filters also work to filter out dog hair and particulates that are more noticeable to the naked eye. However, the EPA is most concerned with those particulates 10 microns in size or smaller, as these are inhale-able. For context, one human hair is about 100 microns in width. So we’re talking about very small particulates here– stuff you typically can’t see!

As previously mentioned, conventional filters (no matter what kind you buy!) can only filter out particulates 1 micron in size or larger. So how do you target smaller particulates? We recommend electronic air cleaners, which are installed with your air conditioning system. They can filter out particulates .2-.3 microns in size, making them 98% effective at removing all particulates. They also require no homeowner maintenance– your air conditioning company will service them once a year during your regular AC system maintenance, and then they’re out of sight and out of mind! Read more about electronic air cleaners here.

What Is A VOC?

To be exact, a VOC is a volatile organic compound. VOC’s are emitted as gases from solids or liquids, such as cleaning products, paint, and even dry-cleaned clothing. They’re invisible, so even if your home is kept immaculately clean, you might still be dealing with VOC’s. Even worse, they can cause serious damage to your organs if you aren’t working to keep yourself (and your family!) safe.

VOC’s can be removed from the air using photocatalytic oxidation. This process involves free ions deactivating single-celled contaminants, which sound scientific… and it is! This process is performed by a PCO light to remove VOC’s from your home. PCO lights are typically installed in your air ducts, and are actually so effective that they can take the smell right out of a candle! Read more about VOC’s and how PCO’s work here.

Wait… So What About Bacteria And Mold?

Most of us know about bacteria and mold, but did you know that these compounds can still be present in your air, even if you’re keeping a clean and tidy house? That’s why we love PCO lights– they kill these compounds in the air once and for all.

If you’ve heard of in-room air purifiers, they claim to kill all of the same compounds as a PCO light. However, because they are not installed within your AC system, they are only effective in the room where they’re present. Unless you have one in every space in your house, your air conditioner is going to continue recycling and circulating dirty air throughout your home, no matter how hard your in-room purifier is working.

Installing a PCO light ensures that your entire house is kept fresh and clean because it works within your air conditioner to purify the air after being pulled in through the supply vent. This will keep your AC system and your home healthy. Check out the picture above to see what a fan looks like when it’s become impacted with mold!

Long story short… there are a lot of things in your indoor air that can make you sick/unhealthy. With so many ways to improve your indoor air quality, there is no reason to keep living in a home with polluted air! Want to create a personalized IAQ plan for your home? Book an appointment with Air Express below.

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