What is Indoor Air Quality?
Air pollution is a term
most associated with the air outside of our
homes and offices
however recent studies show that the air
indoors can be even more polluted than the
air outside. With the average person spending
about 90% of their time indoors it is no
surprise that there has been a 300% increase
in the asthma rate over the past 20 years
and it has been linked to moulds (according
to a 1999 USA Today Cover Story). The solution
to minimizing the exposure to these pollutants
starts with proper humidity control and filtration
of our living space.
Mould spores enter the
home through open doors and windows or on
clothing, shoes and pets. Once deposited
on an organic material (wood, paper, textiles,
carpeting, etc.) the spore only needs the
correct temperature and moisture levels to
begin growing. Burst or leaking plumbing,
leaking roofs, ground water seepage, flood
damage and even high humidity levels without
standing water can cause thousands of different
types of moulds, bacteria and to grow.
a living space’s relative
humidity (the amount of water vapor that
exists in a gaseous mixture of air and
water) can have a large impact on preventing
moulds, bacteria, dust mites, viruses, mildews
and other irritants. Allergens like moulds
and fungi thrive in relative humidity conditions
above 60%, leading to a variety of ailments
including asthma, allergies and a variety
of respiratory infections. Dust mites,
the leading cause of allergies, thrive
in as little as 50% relative humidity.
While humidity is important
there is also the issue of airborne pollutants.
Dust mites, mould spores, pet dander, weeds,
grasses, pollens, and other allergens are
floating in the air, perhaps you can see
them floating about when the sun shines in
through a window. A MERV-11 rated filter
can remove particles from 1.0 to 3.0 microns
in size from the environment and a HEPA filter
is 99.97% efficient at capturing particulate
from 0.3 microns or larger that pass through
it. One of these filters mated with a blower
fan of proper size can effectively remove
a large majority of airborne indoor pollutants.
Additionally there are also carbon and potassium
permanganate blend filters available that
remove odors, chemicals and gases.
Selecting the correct unit to treat your
home is important. There may be one or more
portable dehumidifiers in your home right
now, but the truth is department store units
just don't work for anything other than temporary
small one-room relief. These noisy portable
units are not only large consumers of electricity
but are also typically underpowered for the
space they are in.
Most portable units are
rated for capacity at 80°F and 60% relative
humidity, but a cooler location such as a
basement or crawl space can be at temperatures
of 65°F or below. Frost forms on the
coils of a conventional unit reducing air
circulation and the unit’s efficiency.