Vancouver Indoor Air Quality FAQs
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is the health of the air inside a home or building. There are government standards for air quality outside as well as inside your home. Loosely defined, indoor air quality relates to good and bad elements in the inside air that can affect your health and comfort. Think of pollution or air quality ratings for outdoor air, but applied to the air inside buildings and homes.
Why is Indoor Air Quality Important to me?
Indoor Air Quality is important to your health. Many homes today are sealed very tightly maintaining all the energy and air inside the home, but also trapping the various air contaminants. These contaminants can be filtered out with proper ventilation, improving the indoor air quality. Many homes lack a proper ventilation system, leaving them with toxic levels of many garden variety contaminants such as:
- VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals or elements that exist and attack you, your lungs and your cells. These compounds include arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and others.
- Bioaerosols – Living organisms such as dust mites, bacteria, and other microscopic pests
- Particulate Matter – Dust, pollen, and other allergens
These three types of air contaminants in small amounts may not affect an individual, or trigger allergic reactions but elevated quantities certainly can and do. Some are simply not safe for your home. Even basic home chemicals used in cleaning products when trapped in a very tight home can become part of an indoor air swamp of contaminants making you feel ill or even worse contribute to allergic reactions or sickness.
What Can I Do to Improve My Indoor Air Quality?
There are many things you can personally do to improve your indoor air quality, and of course the professionals at Milani can do much more using equipment only available to trained technicians.
You should always use safe cleaning agents in your home. If your home is new, have a professional review with you the air quality using a device to determine the actual components of the air. We can now tell you how just much of each element is inside the air you breath.
Be sure to operate your furnace with the fan in the “on” position to circulate air and allow the filters to do their job continuously.
Keep the humidity in your home below 50% by having a humidity control device installed. Molds and many bacteria grow in humidity levels above 50%. We recommend a high level filtration device or system, what we call a MERV rated filter. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and relates to the effectiveness of air filters. A filter with a MERV rating of 16 recommended. Why?
MERV stands for how good at removal the filter is. 12 is better than 10, 16 is the best. It removes the dust and particulate that can be in your air aggravating allergies and generally causing issues with your air quality. There are many good MERV 16 options.
At Milani we have many different solutions for home indoor air quality improvement.
What is the first step in improving my home's indoor air?
Diagnosing the problem is the first step.
First we test your air to determine if there are any potential issues when compared traditional environmental standards. If we find that there are indoor air quality issues, Milani’s technicians will determine the right course of action and get you on the path to breathing cleaner air.
The following glossary of terms may help homeowners understand their home’s air quality and how regular maintenance through Milani MVP plan can improve a home’s comfort and air quality.
Diagnosis – Determine any indoor air problems.
Air Movement or Air Flow – Even flow of air recommended to all rooms. Duct air flow is key, and even sizing of ducts is critical to get air where it is needed.
Air Balance or Air Duct Sizing – We need to be sure air is getting to all parts of the home, and back to the filter as well. We send air out from the indoor unit through air ducts to heat and cool and we return the air back to the indoor unit to be filtered and moisture controlled.
Air Duct Cleanliness – Sanitize and clean the air ducts to remove contaminants and debris.
Outdoor Air – Some homes that are tightly sealed need fresh outdoor air introduced to replace toxic air as it is removed.
Humidity Control – Keeping the proper moisture levels in your air make for comfort and prevent molds, mildews and other nasty bioaerosols from growing. We recommend below 50% relative humidity.
Filter Well-Filters-Filtration Systems – What we call filtration systems – think about a coffee filter. Coffee grounds stay put, liquid gets through. We filter air the same way, removing as many contaminants as you like, and as your budget will permit. We have many varying filter options for all budgets.
UV Light – Ultra Violet Germacidal Lights - We irradiate the air with very safe and effective UVC light and kill most any living organisms, viruses included. The goal is to cleanse the air.
Ozone – O3 Molecules – Some UV lamps come with OZONE bulbs designed just like the Earth’s ozone layer. They attract bad molecules while still in the air duct, before they reach you, effectively eliminating any threat. Ozone bulbs are safe in your homes air ducts as the ozone deteriorates after about 3 feet.
Energy Recovery – HRV or ERV - It costs money to heat and cool air, so retaining the energy used when fresh outdoor air replaces indoor air can is critical for the budget conscious. Energy recovery systems extract the energy, bring in new air, and place that paid for energy back into the new cleaner air, saving money, while cleaning the air.
Zoning - Zone Controls – Each room of any home can have its own thermostat to control temperature and moisture (humidity) which is good for both comfort, but also saving you lots of energy spent heating and cooling rooms that aren’t in use.
Safety – Once cleaned and safe, it is prudent to monitor your home’s air quality with safety controls. Installed at various points, these safety alarms act like a fire alarm should dangerous gases or chemicals in your air reach toxic levels.