According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, indoor air in homes is often more polluted than outdoor air found in the largest cities in the country. This is a scary fact, especially considering that most people are indoors 90% of the time. An ideal way to find out the condition of your indoor air is by getting an indoor air quality test completed. By doing this, you will learn the sources of the contamination and ways to improve the quality of the air in your house.
Sources of Contamination
An indoor air quality test is something that can be completed by most furnace repair companies, and it will help you understand how safe the air is inside your home. This test is used to find all sources of contaminants in a home, and there are numerous sources that can lead to contamination of indoor air, including:
- Combustion – This type of contamination often occurs from the energy source used in the home for the heating system. Gas particles commonly include nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, both of which are produced from furnaces that operate with gas. These gases can contaminate the air, but they will be detected during the indoor air quality test.
- Radon – Some homes are contaminated by radon in the air, which is a radioactive gas found in soil. While all soil has radon, levels that are too high in a home can create problems. According to the United States Environmental Agency (EPA), the average home's level of radon is 1.3 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), which is considered safe. If the level in your home tests 4 pCi/L, or higher, the problem should be treated with a radon reduction system.
- Mold and mildew – Another common contaminant found in the air in homes is mold and mildew. Mold and mildew form from water and humidity and can be hard to find. They can grow inside walls or ductwork systems, and the spores will transfer into the air.
After getting an indoor air quality test, you will know exactly what contaminants are present in your home. You will also know whether the air in your home is safe for your family, or not. If the test reveals that your air is not safe enough, the furnace repair company will offer suggestions as to how to improve your home's air quality.
Ways To Improve Air Quality
If the test reveals the presence of gases in your home, they may suggest making changes to your current heating system. An old furnace might have leaks in it, which may be allowing too many gases to escape into your home. Older furnaces might also be outdated and inefficient, which can also be a problem with indoor air quality. If your furnace is really old, the furnace repair company may suggest replacing it.
Anytime mold is discovered in a house, the inspector may suggest hiring a company for mold remediation. If the mold is found in the ductwork of the house only, the furnace repair company will offer duct cleaning services to remove the mold. Removing the source of the contamination is vital to improve indoor air.
Improving the ventilation in your home is another solution for this problem. Ventilation refers to the way a house flushes air through it. While a house should be airtight, it should also contain ventilation. If your house is not properly ventilated, the inspector may suggest installing:
- Attic vents and an attic fan to help move the air around
- Exhaust vents in the kitchen and bathrooms
- A whole house fan to circulate the air
- An air purifier system which cleans the air inside a home
You do not have to take the suggestions they offer, but you should realize that each one will help the air in your home become safer for your entire family.
To learn more about indoor air quality, or to find out if your furnace may need to be replaced, contact a company that offers furnace repairs and replacement services, like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy.