Combatting Poor Indoor Air Quality in Puyallup, WA

Combatting Poor Indoor Air Quality in Puyallup, WA

Indoor air pollution is among the top environmental health risks facing Americans. This is true even in regions where outdoor air pollution is historically low. Indoors, pollutants can concentrate to very high levels and affect both your short- and long-term health. Let’s look at strategies recommended by organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

Schedule Seasonal HVAC Maintenance

Schedule a cooling tune-up each spring and a heating tune-up each fall. During these visits, your HVAC technician will comprehensively clean your HVAC equipment. If applicable, that includes the evaporator and condenser coils. That deep clean will prevent your HVAC system from negatively affecting your IAQ.

Control Dust in the Home

The EPA warns that dust is the top concern when it comes to indoor air pollution. That’s because dust is much more than just dirt. It’s a mixture of pollutants absorbing other pollutants and continuing to release them into your air over time.

The EPA recommends a deep dusting of your home at least once a week. You may need to dust more often if you live with someone who has asthma or severe allergies. Using a microfiber duster, dust each room from top to bottom, paying particular attention to any dust traps. Then, vacuum all furnishings, carpets, rugs, and floors. Ideally, you should use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This will help ensure that your vacuum traps the dust rather than recirculates it.

Schedule Professional Duct Cleaning as Needed

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends an annual dust inspection. You can schedule this inspection alongside your spring or fall HVAC maintenance. NADCA advises cleaning your ducts as needed, and the EPA mirrors that advice. Dust will accumulate in your ducts over time, and that’s not dust that you can easily remove yourself. Using a high-powered vacuum, your technician will extract all that dust and other impurities from your home.

Maintain Optimal Ventilation

Modern homes tend to have a tight seal for optimal energy efficiency. The trade-off is little to no natural ventilation. That allows pollutants to concentrate more easily. If you have a newer home with only passive attic ventilation, a whole-house fan is the solution. It will pull fresh air into the house even when the heating or cooling system isn’t on without introducing any pollutants.

Monitor the Air Quality Index, and Use Allergy Screens

IAQ experts do recommend opening your windows and doors on nice days to air out the house, but take care. Check the air quality index (AQI) for Puyallup, and let fresh air in only when the AQI is in the green zone. It’s also best to install allergy screens on windows and doors to keep pollen and other allergens out.

Install Air Purification

The air inside your home can never be cleaner than the air outside it without some form of air purification. There are a variety of solutions, including portable air purifiers. Whole-house systems are even better. They cost more up-front but are more affordable over time and provide clean air throughout an entire home. You have many different brands and configurations to choose from. Let’s focus on the types of filtration these products offer and which can improve your IAQ.

Benefit From Return-Side Mechanical Filtration

Large particulate matter includes allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. Fine particulate matter is smaller than 0.3 microns. These are the particles we often associate with air pollution. Modern science links them to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory illnesses.

HEPA filtration is widely considered the best option to remove both large and fine particulates from a home. True HEPA traps virtually all large particles as well as a significant portion of fine particles. You can get even better protection against fine particles with a medical-grade HEPA filter, but these are relatively expensive and generally not intended for residential purposes.

Maximize Your HVAC Filter

If you have a central HVAC system, its filter is a consideration as well. All central HVAC systems have one or more supply vents that require a filter. The core purpose of the filter is to protect your HVAC equipment from dust. It also serves a secondary purpose of improving IAQ. Filter manufacturers rate their products using the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating.

A higher MERV rating indicates better filtration but more restricted airflow. Ideally, you should use a filter with as high a MERV rating as your HVAC system can support. The best rating for most homes is MERV 8 to 13.

Professional IAQ Services in King and Pierce Counties

If you want help improving and maintaining your IAQ, Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning is here for you. Our IAQ pros in Puyallup install and service air purification, humidity control, and ventilation equipment. We also design and install ductwork and specialize in gas and electric furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and ductless mini-splits.

Contact Puyallup Heating & Air Conditioning today to get more information on indoor air quality or schedule an appointment.

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