When thinking about air pollution, words that might come to mind are smog, greenhouse gasses, and global warming. Although these issues have been problems for decades, it hasn’t been until recently that we have acknowledged the significance of a cleaner environment and identified ways to help improve outdoor air quality. What about indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality is often overlooked, but it is just as important as the air outside. With our busy day-to-day schedules, we rarely stop to think about the quality of the air in our homes and office environments. However, recent studies have shed light on some alarming statistics – all of which bring the topic of indoor air quality concerns to the forefront:
- Poor indoor air quality is one of the top five largest environmental threats to Americans today, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Although the air in our homes may seem clean, indoor air quality is on average 3 to 5 times more contaminated than outdoor air, and sometimes 70 times as much (EPA).
With the advances in modern day construction practices, homes are being built tighter in an effort to be more energy efficient and environmentally conscious. Both new and old homes are upgrading to air tight windows to improve their insulation, which prevents drafts from occurring. One advantage of this upgrade is that outside foreign air is prevented from entering your house, but unfortunately, it also traps the air inside our home.
For instance, even everyday living is an ongoing source of airborne contamination. Things like dust, chemicals, pet dander and other allergens are often brought inside a home and can become trapped. These contaminants and pollutants are pulled into the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and re-circulated 5-7 times per day, on average. This re-circulation causes a build-up in the ductwork over time. Families might fail to identify an issue, understandably as the problem isn’t easily visible, but the amount of dust and other contaminants accumulating within the walls is more than you might think.
- 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living in a typical 6-room home, as stated by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
That weighs as much as five gallons of milk, a 15-foot canoe or even a 3-year-old child! According to NADCA, residential properties should have their air ducts and system inspected and cleaned every 1-2 years.