Why Is Indoor Air Quality Worse Than Outdoor Air?

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Why Is Indoor Air Quality Worse Than Outdoor Air?

Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing almost always gets a reaction of surprise and disbelief when we tell people indoor air quality (IAQ) is often unhealthier than outdoor air quality. That’s not a good thing because most of us spend 80% to 90% of our time indoors which worries health experts. Let’s look more closely at why indoor air quality in your Waterford, MI or Oxford, MI home is such a challenge.

Natural Air Purification

Pollution levels can fluctuate quickly outdoors based on rapidly changing conditions:

  • Temperature inversions can trap pollution close to the ground.
  • The concentration of many pollutants can spike during morning & evening rush hours.
  • Weather conditions, wind, rain, humidity, etc., can change almost hourly affecting pollution levels.

One way to describe this is that the earth has its own natural air-purifying system to spread outdoor pollutants over a great distance.

Indoors? Not So Much

Indoor air doesn’t have those same natural air scrubbers, so pollutants are trapped. Not surprising since modern homes are built for energy efficiency and drastically limit the air exchange rate inside the house. Modern air conditioning and other HVAC systems add to the problem. They are designed to recirculate air but don’t generally provide fresh air for ventilation.

Let’s Talk More About Ventilation

This ‘V” word is very important for indoor air quality. As a rule, ventilation is a good thing. Bringing in outside air will dilute indoor pollution, but it’s not quite that simple. Opening the windows isn’t feasible during a Michigan winter or when the air conditioning is running during a summer heat wave. Additionally, just opening the windows doesn’t make sense if the outdoor air quality is poor and you are just bringing in more dirty air. 

Attacking the Problem

There are many ways to get serious about improving indoor air quality:

  • Start by controlling the sources of indoor pollution. Major culprits include mold, dust mites, cooking gases, and tobacco smoke. Be proactive to limit these sources:
    • The indoor humidity level should be about 40% to prevent mold growth.
    • Always use your exhaust fan to capture toxic chemicals produced during cooking.
    • If you have to smoke do it outside. Tobacco contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 60 carcinogens.
  • Ventilate wisely by opening windows and using fans when appropriate. Kotz also has systems that can provide ventilation without compromising energy efficiency.
  • Use quality HVAC filters as part of your air conditioning and heating systems. These will remove particles from the air.
  • Add a whole-house air purifier. Many of them use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. 

Kotz Is Here to Help

Let Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing help make the indoor air in your Waterford, MI or Oxford, MI as healthy as possible. Call now to schedule a no obligation appointment to learn more about the many indoor air quality solutions and which ones are right for you. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook too for more tips!