Three Types of Indoor Air Pollution That Are Bad News: How to Put a Lid on Them

Posted On: July 07, 2014

Indoor air pollution can be a major problem. The first step in improving the indoor air quality in your southwest Illinois home is to understand the three main types of indoor air pollution, and the second step is knowing how to stop them.

The three main causes of air pollution in your home can be classified into the following categories:

  • Particles (such as pollen, dander, lint and dust)
  • Microorganisms/bio-aerosoels
  • Odors or chemical vapors

These contaminants can cause the following issues:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Viruses
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Excessive dust

Each type of contaminant has different properties. A particle is a substance smaller than 100 microns, but a chemical vapor is a gas that contaminates the air. Microorganisms are living organisms that thrive in warmth and humidity – such as mold or bacteria – and are tiny in size. Because of the very different characteristics, you need to deal with the problem by getting an air cleaner that either removes the major pollutant in your home or one that removes all three.

When you’re looking for an air cleaner, keep several factors in mind, including cost, noise, installation and maintenance. Most importantly, determine the type of contaminant you want to remove. Each type of cleaner has certain limitations; a standard HVAC air filter is meant to remove solid particles but won’t remove gases or fumes, and may not efficiently remove the smallest particulates. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to remove the great majority of airborne particles, both large and small.

Other types of air cleaners also have limitations. Electrostatic air cleaners remove particles as well, but can produce ozone and this can cause other issues. UVGI air cleaners are designed to remove microorganisms but some types of mold, viruses and bacteria are resistant to them. You may want to look into a system that can combat all types of indoor air pollution. Some air purification systems are available that can remove particles, microorganisms and odors from the air without producing ozone.

To learn more about fighting indoor air pollution in Hamel, Staunton, Bethalto and other Metro-East communities, please contact us at Ernst Heating and Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, Bethalto, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Maryville, Staunton and Troy, Illinois about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about indoor air pollution and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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