Celebrate Earth Day By Learning About Your Home Environment

By: Brian Schutt  |  April 23, 2013

Earth Day’s focus is clearly the global environment. And while we have nothing against education and information of issues related to the earth itself, it can sometimes seem, well, distant to our day to day. Not to mention that anytime the word environment is thrown into a conversation battle lines get drawn, and an MSNBC v. Fox News debate begins (thanks politicians!).

So rather than go down that wormhole, let’s talk about something you can control, your home environment. And as a disclaimer, I get it, if the macro environment fails having great air in your home is pretty meaningless. But, assuming the “Day After Tomorrow” isn’t actually two days away, you can take some meaningful steps today to help clean up your environment.

Indoor Air Quality & Your Health – Quick Statistics

  • On average, Americans spend 90% of their life indoors
  • Indoor air is an estimated 2 – 5 times more polluted that outdoor air
  • New home construction requires tighter insulation, which reduces utility costs but also reduces fresh air into home
  • 50 % of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality (Source: 1989 State of Mass. Study)
  • Indoor air quality is one of the EPA’s top five environmental risks to public health.
  • Air pollution contributes to lung disease, respiratory tract infections, asthma and lung cancer.

These realities have hit close to home recently. As many of our customers know, my wife and I recently had our first child Parker. (If you’re really bored, check out this video I made for his first birthday) As a proud dad, I want to do everything I can to keep him healthy. Unfortunately, he’s been dealing with respiratory issues the last three or four months, 5 ear infections, and this Thursday tubes will be put in. I realize none of this stuff is necessarily unique, nor devastating. However, my reaction I’m sure is like most parents in that I want to do anything I can to prevent stuff like this from happening to him. And while the time of year, having a cat and dog, and genetic predisposition for allergies are probably causes too, I believe that our indoor air quality is part of the problem.

2 Keys to Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

If you share some of my same concerns there are two major steps you can take to improve your home environment.

1. Reduce the level of pollutants in your home

Proactively reduce the level of pollutants by purchasing less toxic or non toxic products. We’re in the process of transitioning our cleaning products to Shaklee brand. This also applies to home service providers like carpet cleaning, painting, pest control and many other services.

2. Filter out the pollutants you can’t control with a whole home air purifier system

Knowing you can’t control all the pollutants from entering your home, cleaning the air is a step that you have many options on. As any homeowner knows, your furnace comes equipped with a 1 inch filter. It’s not that these do nothing to filter your air, but they do little to filter out pollutants. A standard 1 inch filter’s primary purpose is to prevent major debris from entering the mechanical parts of your HVAC system.

To make a noticeable impact on the filtration of your home and increase your air quality, use a a 4 or 5 inch pleated filter.

These filters require a pre-fabricated filter rack that will fit the dimensions of your HVAC system ductwork.  There are many brands available. Some conventional sizes are 16″ x 20″, 20″ x 20″, 20″ x 25″, but there are other sizes available as well.

To take another step in increased filtration, use an electro-static air cleaner.

Carrier has two main product lines the Performance Series Air Cleaner, and the Infinity Series Air Purifier. These offer a great solution if you know you or a family member has issues with allergies or asthma. These systems capture 75% to 95% of particles and kill 95% to 99% of germs, respectively.

Air Filtration Solutions for Mold or Mildew in Your Home

Finally, if you’re aware of issues related to mold or mildew in your home and you’re having a reaction to that, there are two primary methods that we recommend to target that issue. First is a germicidal ultraviolet light. This system is designed to kill mold and other organisms that can grow inside your evaporator coil and in the moist environment created by your HVAC system. The newest method we have to target is from Global Plasma Solutions. Rather than try to describe it, watch this video below:

Brian Schutt

About 

is the co-owner of Homesense Heating | Cooling. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he loves the city and its people, and is committed to bringing a servants mindset into the heating and cooling industry. One of the ways he does that is to translate the technical language of HVAC into the manageable and understandable for homeowners.

Have a question? Tweet him and you'll get an answer promptly.