Although a relatively new topic in environmental safety, indoor air quality has now become a major topic of concern since the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been our focus for the past year and we all have been diligent in making sure that we social distance, wear masks when in public and washing our hands frequently. But what can you do inside your home to help minimize the risk?
About indoor air quality
Indoor air quality is a measure of the amount of pollutants and contaminants in your home’s air, and is determined by a number of factors, including humidity and ventilation levels from your HVAC system. The US Environmental Protection Agency has found that concentrations of pollutants can be up to 100 times higher indoors than outdoors. With people spending even more time indoors than ever before, clean indoor air has become critical to the health and well-being of you and your family.
What does an Air Purification System do?
An air purification system works with your HVAC system to improve the air throughout your home by filtering out airborne particles, germs and bacteria, as well as odours like smoke. Air purification systems are whole-home solutions and typical fall into 3 categories.
- Germicidal lights – use intense ultraviolet light to remove and destroy particles and germs.
- Electronic air cleaners (EACs) – take recirculated air and pass it through a prefilter that traps large pollutants. Then, ionizing wires give a positive electrical charge to destroy the particles.
- High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters – are very effective at small-particle removal and one of the more well-known solutions available.
Most full systems can filter out over 95% of airborne particles down to .3 microns and bacteria down to .01 microns. What does that mean for you? It means that the air you breathe can be 99% free of these types of contaminants and pollutants.
The 3 classes of contaminants
There are 3 classes of contaminants, so make sure that if you are considering an air purification system, it covers all 3. The good news is that a high quality air purification system will remove these contaminants from every room in your house.
- Airborne particles – These include pollen, dust mites and pet dander. These are the typical culprits for those with allergies.
- Germs and Bacteria – Here’s where Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other microscopic organisms like the flu, mold spores and bacteria that cause the common cold reside.
- Odours and vapours – These are gases that circulate in your home, including smoke, cooking fumes, cleaning supplies and pet odours.
Exposure to these invisible contaminants can occur even in the most well-maintained home.
What about portable air purifiers?
Portable air purifiers, specifically those with HEPA filters, certainly can remove contaminants and pollutants from a room, but that is exactly the problem as well. They can only work in a closed space, like a bedroom. With a whole home air purification system, you are cleaning the air from top to bottom. For an air purifier to be effective, it must be able to consistently draw in enough air to reduce the amount of particles containing the pollutants that persist in the air and a portable solution, although fine for a small, enclosed space, will not help your entire home.
So what are the health benefits?
Reduces the chance of airborne diseases
Airborne diseases, such as the common cold, flu and coronavirus are spread through small particles in the air. It’s not uncommon for someone who is sick in the house, to infect everyone else. This happens because everyone is breathing the same air that’s infected with bacteria and viruses.
Air purification systems capture these bacteria and viruses. When you remove the cause of airborne diseases, you safeguard yourself and your family from them. If you live with elderly people, children, or anyone with a weakened immune system, the quality of the air in your home is critical.
Relieves asthma symptoms
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 12 people have asthma. People living with asthma are susceptible to pollutants such as pet dander, pollen, or dust mites which irritate their airways, causing difficulty breathing. An efficient air purification system keeps your indoor air free of pollutants, reducing the chances of breathing difficulties caused by asthma.
Eliminates harmful chemical odours and unpleasant smells
Many regular household cleaners contain toxic chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, and phthalates. Exposure to these chemicals in small quantities may be harmless, but routine exposure can lead to serious health issues like a tumor, cancer, cardiovascular, or neurological disorders. Filtering out these harmful odours and gases not only decrease any health issues but also keeps you home smelling clean.
Improves your quality of sleep
Although this doesn’t seem as apparent when talking about indoor air quality, your sleep is affected by the air that you breathe. Allergic side effects like coughing, nose congestion, watery eyes, or sore throat are some common allergic symptoms that result from poor air quality and disrupts your sleep. It’s simple. Cleaner air results in a more consistent, deeper and better night’s sleep.
Do your homework
In the end, it comes down to your needs. There are several factors to consider when choosing an air purification system, starting with sensitivity to allergens. The more sensitive a person is to allergens, the greater the need for a high-efficiency filtration system.
For efficiency, the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the industry standard for rating filter performance. For example, HEPA-based systems use hospital-grade filtration technology with a performance that’s equivalent to a MERV 17 filtration efficiency or higher. Also, the obvious factors like cost and the type of system (as mentioned earlier in this article) play into making the right decision to suit your specific needs.
LG Home Comfort offer a number of solutions in air purification and can help you make a decision that works best for you. Call us today at 1-866-438-5442 and one of our specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.