Improving Indoor Air Quality

Research has found that the quality of air inside the home can be worse than outdoors. Air pollutants, like mold, can even render homes uninhabitable. They are especially dangerous to small children and people with asthma.

Pollutants can be found virtually anywhere; Florida’s biggest offenders include pine, ragweed, and mold. Unfortunately, mold spores only require a little food, moisture and a suitable growing location to survive.

Of course, there will always be some level of allergens in your home. The best way to keep your house healthy is through proper ventilation and source control.

Source Control

There are three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality include via source control. Your main defense is to keep spores and pollutants out of the home. Once they enter the home, use air cleaners and starve them of moisture.

Keeping allergens out of the home should be easy for those with more modern energy efficient homes. Caulk on bottom plate of exterior walls, sill plate sealers, and air barrier continuity at all framed cavities will keep good air in and bad air out. Installing a tightly sealed door between the garage and living area can help as well.

The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants and how much air it draw through the filtering system. The performance of a cleaner depends on maintenance according to the manufacturer’s directions. Air cleaners range in a variety of sizes and costs but should be used in conjunction with an effort to remove the source of a pollutant.

Controlling the source of the pollutant is the most effective solution to improving air quality. The key to stopping mold growth is to control the amount of moisture in and around your home. Moisture can be caused by indoor and outdoor flooding from storm water, overflowing lakes and streams, sinks, tubs, toilets, and air conditioners. Water leaks from the roof, walls, or floors should be fixed as soon as possible by a professional to prevent severe damage to your home.

Ventilation

Another approach to lowering the concentration of indoor pollutants is to increase the ventilation in your home. When picking a heating and cooling system make sure it provides a mechanicalventilation rate of 7.5 cfm per bedroom and 7.5 cfm bathroom. Venting bathroom and kitchen range exhaust outdoors can directly remove contaminates and increase ventilation. 

Proper ventilation and source control at various levels can manage the influx of pollutants like pine, ragweed, and mold.  Although you will never really eliminate 100 percent of allergens and contaminates, sealing crevices and the use of dehumidifiers or air cleaners can help.

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