May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month: Here’s What You Need to Know about Air Quality

air quality, air filtrationHere at Air-Tro, we strive to keep California comfortable. But what we don’t mention too often is perhaps HVAC’s most important job for anyone living in Southern California’s frequently unhealthy climate: protecting your health.

With the air teeming with bacteria, pollutants, and organic irritants, your air conditioning filtration system can serve as an important roadblock to breathing and ingesting harmful particles that promote asthma and respiratory problems. However, without a high quality, properly functioning HVAC system, the indoor air you breathe can be almost 100 times more polluted than the air outside, according to a recent study by the EPA. Yes, you read that right. 100 times! With a little awareness and appropriate testing, it is possible to detect these hazards in your home. Once identified, then you can set about fixing them.

Radon, Mold and More: Air Quality Issues You Should Know About

For example, it’s relatively easy to detect the presence of radon, a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that has been linked to lung tissue damage, with a simple, readily available radon detector. Fortunately, Southern California has not been shown to have high levels of this pollutant.

Mold is another concern for many homeowners. Sources of these dangerous organics in your home can arise from things like moist or wet walls, floors or attics, poorly maintained humidifiers, dehumidifiers, or even air conditioners. For that reason, it’s critically important to both maintain your HVAC system and have it routinely inspected by a professional technician at least once a year.

Cigarette smoke is an obvious pollutant with harmful effects on those exposed. If you or a loved one must light up, make sure to do so outside whenever possible. Cigarette smoke not only stains walls and furniture but also can linger in the form of dangerous particulates within your home.

Along with these potentially lethal pollutants, there are also any number of outdoor pollens, pet related irritants, and other noxious gasses that come about from the use of household cleaners, and certain pressed wood, carpet or paint products!

Avoid Air Cleaning Scams

We know this list of allergens can sound overwhelming. Luckily, along with the right testing and inspections, it is possible to reduce, if not prevent, many air quality problems from developing in your home. But first, a caveat: do not fall for sanitizer scams.

Some less-than-reputable HVAC providers may try to sell you on using sanitizer or deodorizer in your air ducts. The bad news? Their health effects may be worse than the damage from what you’re trying to remove. The EPA currently does not recommend their use, so we don’t either. Stay away.

Real Solutions: Air Filtration and UV Radiation Air Cleaning

However, there are solutions that do work. For example, mechanical air filters kept in top condition remove particulates by trapping them within their filter materials. High-efficiency HEPA filters are especially good at capturing these harmful irritants. Electronic air sanitizers are also available, including UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation)cleaners. Used together with air filtration systems, these can be extremely effective at neutralizing harmful pollutants before they reach the inside of your home.

With an extremely wet winter just behind us, forecasters are predicting allergens to be at an all-time high this spring and summer. There are solutions. Call Air-Tro today to find out how we can help you breathe easier. (626)357-3535. To your health!