Is Indoor Air Quality Better Than Outdoor Air Quality?
Your overall health and well-being depend on the quality of the air that you breathe as well as your comfort in your O’Fallon home. Is indoor air quality better than the quality of the air outside? This is a common question and to answer it, you need to examine what influences air quality, pollutant types and how to improve air quality.
Exploring Indoor Air Quality
Maintaining quality indoor air in your home is essential for all occupants. There are several factors that affect the air inside. Make sure that you have sufficient ventilation. This allows fresh air to flow into your space while pushing indoor air pollutants out.
Dry air can cause respiratory discomfort and dry skin while high humidity can lead to mold growth. Indoor air quality is reliant on balanced humidity levels. Ideally, you want the humidity levels in your home to be between 20 and 60%.
The common airborne contaminants include dust, mold spores, particulate matter, pet dander and pollen. There are also volatile organic compounds that certain paints, cleaning products and air fresheners can release. Occupant activities, such as smoking, appliance use and cooking, can release some pollutants into the air.
Exploring Outdoor Air Quality
There are emissions from industrial facilities and power plants. These include sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Vehicle emissions are another concern and include nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
Allergens and pollen float through the outdoor air. There are also natural pollutant sources, including volcanic eruptions, wildfires and dust storms. A smog component called ground-level ozone is a common pollutant. It occurs when sunlight and pollution interact.
Outdoor pollutant levels partially rely on the local weather since it can trap or disperse pollutants depending on the conditions. For example, a temperature inversion can cause trapping of pollutants close to the ground.
Indoor Air vs. Outdoor Air
Knowing what favors indoor and outdoor air and the challenges affecting both allows you to make a more detailed comparison.
There are several factors that favor indoor air quality. Indoor spaces offer a controlled environment, so it is easier to manage the air. Ways to better control the environment include air purifiers, ventilation systems and regular cleaning.
Modern HVAC systems usually have filtration systems built into them. For example, an air filter helps to improve air quality by trapping airborne particles.
Sealing your windows and doors help to decrease your home’s exposure to outdoor pollutants. Use things like caulking and weatherstripping to prevent air leakage.
There are some customized solutions that you can explore to better enhance your home’s indoor air quality. Examples include whole-home air purifiers and using low-emission household products.
There are some challenges that you may face when it comes to indoor air quality. If you use certain household products or smoke in your home, it may be more difficult to control the air in your home. Frequent cooking, especially with heavy spice use, could also reduce air quality.
Certain furnishings and building materials may negatively impact indoor air quality due to emitting pollutants over time. Choosing greener options may help with this issue.
If your home does not have adequate ventilation, this can cause a decline in air quality. This is due to indoor pollutants being able to accumulate indoors since poor ventilation hinders proper air exchange.
There are some factors that favor outdoor air quality. Dispersion and dilution help to reduce the concentration of airborne pollutants. Since the outdoors is expansive, there is more space for pollutants to float, so in a specific area, such as your backyard, they could be at a lower concentration.
There are natural processes that help to disperse pollutants and cleanse the air; wind and rain are some common examples.
Government regulations also play a role. Emission controls and regulatory measures help reduce the release of harmful pollutants and decrease overall outdoor air pollution.
Outdoor air quality faces multiple challenges. You have little control over industrial and traffic emissions. The pollutant levels tend to be higher in urban areas.
Natural events, such as wildfires, can have a significant impact on the air quality outdoors. The weather will also play a role. For example, a stagnant air mass can bring pollutants down to ground level, reducing the quality of the air that you breathe.
Maintaining Optimal Air Quality
There are some things that you can do to enhance your indoor air quality. First, make sure that your home has adequate ventilation. This allows for proper air exchange so that you can bring fresh air in and push stagnant and polluted air out.
Talk to an HVAC expert about upgrading your system’s air filter to a high-efficiency one. This will allow the filter to better trap particles to keep your indoor air cleaner.
Be mindful of your activities, such as cooking, smoking and using certain cleaning products. You can also open windows when you are cooking or cleaning or place an air purifier in the rooms where you are doing these activities.
Create a regular cleaning schedule for your home and use products that put out low to no emissions. When you clean and dust at least once a week, this helps to reduce allergens, dust and other pollutants in the air.
There are air purifiers of different sizes. You can opt to place smaller ones in specific rooms where you want extra air purification. There are also larger systems that can purify the air throughout your home with a single system. An HVAC professional will be able tell you which system is the best option for your home after performing an assessment.
Use humidifiers or dehumidifiers to help control your home’s humidity levels. There are units in different sizes, depending on the level of humidity control that you need.
There are a few ways to promote cleaner air outside in your community. Join a local committee that focuses on better air quality so that you can all work together in your area. You can also opt to raise awareness in your community.
Choose a vehicle that is more sustainable, such as an electric car or a hybrid. Walk or ride a bike when you can to further cut down on vehicle emissions.
Plant trees and other greenery throughout your yard. Trees are vital for cleaning the air. You can also organize a community garden to promote more plants and trees in your community.
Air Quality Experts in O’Fallon
You have more control over the air quality inside your O’Fallon home. Because of this, it can be easier to maintain better indoor air quality versus the air quality outside. Our team can help you with measuring and improving the quality of your indoor air. We can also assist with your cooling and heating needs. Call Hoff Heating & AC in O’Fallon today to learn more about air quality and what you can do about it.