When you get home after a long day of trials and tribulations at work, during your daily commute, and so on, you can finally relax and breathe easy. Or can you? Maybe not if your structure suffers from poor interior air quality, as many do. According to EPA studies, the average home is 2-5 times as polluted as the air outdoors, with some homes registering air quality that is more than 100 times as polluted as outside air. If you’re an average homeowner, this is both a disgusting and a disturbing revelation. But if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory disorders, it could be hazardous to your health. The good news is that you have a lot of control over your indoor air quality, and there are options for air purification that can help to improve your breathable air.
You’ll want to start simply enough by pinpointing and reducing (or even eliminating) common allergens in your home. It might not be fun to quit smoking or send your furry pals off to a new home, but if your asthma and/or allergies are severe enough, you might not have much choice. You can also reduce dust and bacteria through frequent cleaning – just consider green cleaners as an alternative to using toxic, chemical solvents in your home. And keep mold and mildew at bay with a dehumidifier that keeps the moisture in your home under control. Of course, not all homeowners will have to deal with all of these particulates in the air, but it never hurts to do what you can to remove potential allergens from your space, especially if you find yourself coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and suffering other symptoms related to poor indoor air quality.
That said, there is also machinery designed to help you reduce pollutants in your home. There are two broad categories when it comes to air purification systems. You could start out with relatively inexpensive portable units that can be placed throughout your home as needed. However, as you might have guessed, these units have a rather limited range of effect. Instead, you might consider installing a whole-home system. This type of air purification product uses your existing HVAC system to pull particulates out of the air in your living spaces and circulate fresh air that is free of pollutants.
With the right filters in place you can stop a significant percentage of particulates from being re-circulated in your home. For example, HEPA filters capture particulates as small as about 0.3 microns in size, which means that even bacteria can be stopped. For reference, the average piece of dust is around 2 microns at the smallest. In the interest of due diligence though, you should check the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of a filter before you buy. HEPA filters tend to have the highest ratings. And when you understand how MERV ratings and your health coincide, you’ll see that paying attention to this spec is important when selecting a suitable air purification system for your home.