Why Air Purifiers Are Not Always The Answer To Indoor Air Quality Problems
Air purifier filters are not always the answer to air quality problems.
Solving the problem is a much better approach than masking the symptom.
The following are the basic approaches to improve indoor air quality;
1) Eliminate or control the pollutant source.
2) Dilution of the contaminants through ventilation.
3) Removal or reduction of the contaminants through filtration or purification with the use of air purifier filters or air purifiers.
Proper ventilation in a building is a must!
Before the energy crunch in the 1970's, fresh air in buildings was not really an issue.
When energy costs started to rise, we started making our buildings more energy efficient with better insulation and sealing techniques that made the building tighter, reducing the amount of fresh air into the buildings and increasing indoor pollution.
After indoor air quality issues came to the surface, we learned how to reduce energy costs while not compromising the health of the occupants, through the practice of building science.
Great strides have been made in this area, leading to more comfortable, healthier, safer homes.
The goal of good ventilation is to bring in the right amount of fresh air, not too much or not too little.
This is accomplished by using mechanical ventilation (exhaust fans, energy recovery units, etc.) that are sized to the volume of the house and/or according to lifestyle.
Mechanical ventilation not only dilutes contaminants but also removes excess moisture that can become a mold problem if not properly addressed.
Moisture can show up as high humidity (under-ventilated bathrooms, indoor pools or hot tubs and very tight homes) or water that enters a building either from the outside (rainwater) or from undetected plumbing leaks.
Addressing these problems using the right approach, elimination or control of the source (in this case repair the leak from the outside or finding and repairing the plumbing leak) makes more sense than trying to rid the mold with air purifier filters or air purifiers.
Pollutants such as formaldahyde and benzene can be produced from certain furniture, carpets, plywood and drapes.
Other sources of benzene are gas cans, gas powered lawn mowers that are stored in garages that are attached to the house.
If elimination of these sources is not an option an air purification device would be the obvious choice.
Toilets, air conditioning coils, heating/cooling ducts and humans are producers of bacteria. The right plan in these cases would be an air purifier device.
Carbon Monoxide is caused by incomplete combustion of appliances that depend on combustion to operate.
ELIMINATION IS ALWAYS THE ANSWER WHEN IT COMES TO CARBON MONOXIDE!
FIND THE PROBLEM-FIX THE PROBLEM!
Leave this to a company that is well-versed in carbon monoxide.
Pet and human dander are controlled through proper humidity control (mechanical ventilation) and air purifier filters.
By using the combination of source control (elimination), ventilation (dilution) and good air purifier filters and/or purification system ,your environment will be much heatlthier.
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About the Author:
A pioneer in residential contracting, Ed is a thirty-year industry veteran trained in the "House Is A System" approach to HVAC design. He was formerly a building analyst instructor, providing certification training for New York's Home Performance with ENERGY STARŪ program.