April 8, 2024

Indoor air quality in St. Louis, MO

Dealing With Poor Outdoor Air: Use Air Quality Products to Improve Indoor Air Quality

While it’s nice to open your windows and doors and allow fresh air to come inside your St. Louis, MO, home, there are times when outdoor air quality isn’t healthy. This can be because of things like pollution, smoke and pollen. For people who are extremely sensitive and suffer from allergies or asthma, it may be a better idea to keep windows and doors closed and remain indoors. Unfortunately, many homes experience poor indoor air quality as well. This creates a confusing situation that makes you wonder if you should be inside or outside. The solution is to utilize your HVAC system along with indoor air quality products to mitigate any indoor air quality issues.

Air Filters

As a very affordable and simple method of keeping your indoor air free of pollutants and allergens, it’s recommended that you replace the filter in your HVAC system once every 30 to 90 days. The exact frequency will depend on the filter that you’re using as well as how frequently you run your furnace or air conditioner. Not only does this filter help you maintain healthy indoor air, but it also helps protect the interior components of your HVAC equipment. This can lead to reduced repairs over the lifespan of your unit.

Air filters are made from different materials. Many of these come with additional features as well. Most HVAC filters will be rated using a MERV score, which stands for minimum efficiency reporting values. As a MERV score increases, this will result in better filtration. However, you shouldn’t immediately purchase the highest-rated filter you can find. If your HVAC system can’t handle a high-MERV-rated filter, this can put a lot of strain on your equipment. A professional HVAC technician can educate you on the type of filter you should be using that promotes optimal indoor air quality without harming your HVAC system.

Activated Carbon Filtration

You can purchase furnace filters that contain activated carbon in addition to the traditional fiberglass or paper filter material that is used. Activated carbon does a fantastic job of absorbing odors and VOCs from the air. If the St. Louis air outside isn’t healthy because of pollution, carbon filtration is an excellent feature to have. It can also remove the smell of cigarette smoke, pets, cooking odors and more.

Air Purification

Your furnace does an adequate job of removing pollutants from the air that is circulating through your home. However, most homes benefit from increased air purification, especially when the outside air isn’t ideal. An air purification device can remove up to 99.97% of particulate matter that is in your indoor air whether it comes from an indoor source or outdoors. Air purifiers utilize enhanced filtration compared to what’s used in your furnace. A HEPA filter is a common choice. HEPA filters can remove particles that are between 0.3 and 10 microns in diameter. There isn’t much that’s left behind if you’re remembering to clean or replace your filter as needed.

Air purification devices that are installed as a whole-house unit may also utilize UV light technology to remove pathogens and other microorganisms from the air that you breathe. While many standalone purifiers also feature this design, a whole-house unit can address air quality in every room of your home.

Addressing Humidity

Ideally, the humidity level in your home should be kept somewhere between 30% and 50%. If levels start to exceed 50%, this can lead to indoor air that feels very stuffy and oppressive. Also, humid air in your home can promote the growth of mold. Breathing in mold can increase allergy and asthma symptoms and create health problems that result in gut issues, itchy skin, decreased immune function and much more.

You can keep humidity at an acceptable level by utilizing a whole-house dehumidifier. Rather than having a standalone unit in one area of the home (most frequently the basement), you’ll be able to address your whole home entirely. You may even find that the air in your home feels more comfortable, and it is easier to breathe when you’re indoors.

If you find that the air inside of your home is dry, you may benefit from a whole-house humidifier during certain times of the year. Adding some moisture back to very dry air can relieve nasal irritation and reduce allergies. Your home can have both a whole-house dehumidifier and a humidifier. This allows you to adjust as the seasons change.

Upgrading Your Thermostat

Many homes still have an older thermostat that simply controls temperature, and that’s about it. There are upgraded versions that provide a lot more features, such as the ability to monitor indoor humidity levels and air quality. These readings will allow you to adjust temperature, air filtration and moisture as needed. If you opt for a smart thermostat, you’ll be able to adjust everything without even needing to be at home. These thermostats interact with your smartphone or tablet for ease of use, so you can monitor what’s going on when you’re at work or even on vacation for an extended period.

Ventilation Fans

While there are steps that you can take to improve the quality of your indoor air, there is still a need to remove air that is stale. If you don’t want to open your windows or doors because of poor outdoor air quality in St. Louis, you can turn on a ventilating fan to remove indoor air and expel it to the outside. Most homes have these fans in bathrooms and the kitchen. You can run these fans when you’re cooking and creating a lot of smoke. Run your bathroom fans while you’re showering to prevent too much humidity from accumulating.

You’ll want to routinely clean these fans to ensure that air is flowing through them at a proper rate. They can quickly become caked with dust and other particulates, preventing adequate airflow. You may also want to upgrade the current fans that you have in place. These fans are rated using CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute. This is the amount of air that’s able to flow through in a specific amount of time. The higher the rating, the better the airflow. The lowest-rated fans you will find are usually around 50 CFM. Measurements increase all the way to 180 CFM for areas that require fast ventilation.

If you are looking for more information on an indoor air quality product for your St. Louis home, reach out to our team here at Scott-Lee Heating Company. We would be happy to provide you with an indoor air quality assessment, which helps us determine the ways that your indoor air can be improved. We’ll make recommendations for the type of service and equipment that can help promote a healthy indoor environment. We also take care of new equipment installations, emergency repairs and routine maintenance. Give Scott-Lee Heating Company a call today to set up an appointment.