Farmington Hill, MI, (August 2011) – As temperatures cool off outside, most of us move to indoor activities. Looming cooler temps also prompt homeowners to tightly seal any cracks in their homes, preventing cold drafts from entering. This, in turn, seals off a house from any fresh air and raises concentrations of both allergens and pollutants in the house.
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. The EPA also reports that indoor pollution levels can be anywhere from two to five, to as much 100 times higher than the air outside. Studies have shown that breathing contaminated air can put your health at risk. According to the American College of Allergists, 50% of illnesses are caused or aggravated by polluted indoor air.Indoor pollutants have also been linked to headaches, lung irritation and fatigue as well as more long-term conditions such as asthma, allergies and infectious diseases.
Dave Knight, of Thornton & Groomssays, “If you have a central heating and/or cooling system, the air is circulated throughout your home by this system. Most heating and cooling systems only use a basic air filter. These filters were originally designed to protect the equipment and not the people served by the equipment. The average air filter is only capable of removing 3-5% of the particles that pass through it. Today several high efficiency indoor air filtration products, which work in conjunction with your heating and cooling system, are available to homeowners that want to improve their indoor air quality.”
There are a variety of air filtration products on the market including HEPA filters, air cleaners and air purifiers. HEPA filters are designed to remove particulate (down to .3 microns) such as dust, pollen, molds and spores, but do not reduce odors or kill germs and viruses. “The addition of a HEPA filter to your heating and cooling system helps reduce particulate in the air and offers relief to allergy sufferers,” says Knight.
Another option for homeowners is whole-house air cleaner, which can offer the same removal of particulate (down to .3 microns) from the air and depending upon the brand may offer some removal of bacteria, viruses, and germs, and odors. According to Knight, “Air cleaners can be as much as 40 times as efficient as the standard 1” filter and keep your home cleaner allowing for less frequent dusting.”
Air purifiers, a third option, are designed to remove particulate, kill germs and viruses, and eliminate odors. “These systems typically provide the greatest degree of particulate removal; up to 100 times more efficient than a standard 1” filter and offer the best protection against germs and viruses,” says Knight.
A whole-home air filtration system also helps maintain the efficiency of a central heating and cooling system by filtering out dust and dirt. According to Energy Star*, this build-up of pollutants on equipment can reduce its efficiency by as much as 25%. Dust and dirt build-up can also be damaging to a heating and cooling system, contributing to expensive maintenance or premature failure.
“As we head into the winter months and are spending more and more time indoors, a whole-home air filtration system is a great way to provide a healthier environment for your family. You’ll not only be able to breathe easier, but also help lower utility bills while increasing the lifespan of your heating and cooling system.” says Knight.
*Energy Star is a government organization established by the EPA and the DOE to create an international standard for energy efficient consumer products.
Thornton & Grooms
Thornton and Grooms has been serving homeowners for almost 75 years with experience and a local reputation for superior technical skills in heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and indoor air quality systems. With products ranging from furnaces and heat pumps to air purifiers and thermostats, they can equip your home for any season while saving you money.