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Winter’s Effect on Indoor Air Quality

Aug. 31, 2011

As temperatures cool off outside, mostof us find ourselves spending more time indoors.  Looming cooler temps also prompt us to tightly seal any cracks in our homes, preventing cold drafts from entering.  This, in turn, seals off your home from any fresh air and raises concentrations of both allergens and pollutants in our homes.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors.  The EPA reports that indoor pollution levels can be anywhere from two to five, to as much 100 times higher than the air outside.  Breathing contaminated air puts the health of you and your family at risk.

Did you know?

  • Each person inhales over 3,500 gallons of air each day. Children inhale more particles for their size than adolescents or adults. 
  • According to the American College of Allergist, 50% of illnesses are caused or aggravated by polluted indoor air.
  • Polluted air causes 94% of all respiratory problems.
  • More than 31 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, about 1/3 are children under 18.
  • About 40,000 dust mites, a common household allergen, can live in one ounce of dust.
  • An estimated 10-15% of the entire population may be allergic to cat or dog dander.
  • Pollutants contribute to headaches,lung irritation and fatigue as well as more long-term conditions such as asthma, allergies and infectious diseases. 

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 indoor air filtration products, which work in conjunction with your heating and cooling system, are available to homeowners.

Air filtration products include 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.  These filters can be very helpful to allergy sufferers.

Another option is air cleaners, 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.  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, kills 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 greatest degree of protection against germs and viruses.

A whole-home air filtration system also helps maintain the efficiency of your central heating and cooling system by filtering out dust and dirt.  This build-up of pollutants on your equipment can reduce its efficiency by as much as 25%.  Dust and dirt build-up can also be damaging to your 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 breath easier, but you’ll help lower your utility bills while increasing the lifespan of your heating and cooling system!

 

Sources:        www.epa.gov

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Thornton & Grooms
24565 Hallwood Ct
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 644-7810
MI Plumbing Lic. #: 8106666
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