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The air quality, or IAQ, inside your Westminster, MD impacts your health and how your HVAC system runs. Regardless of the air quality outside, you may have poor air quality inside your home. Discover six habits that are reducing your home’s IAQ and what you can do to improve it.

1. Using Chemical Paints and Scents

Chemicals are one of the leading unintentional contributors to poor IAQ within your home. Many substances around your home contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, with paint and air fresheners being leading contributors.

VOCs are harmful when you breathe them in, causing headaches, nausea and eye and throat irritation. They are also linked to kidneys, liver and central nervous system damage.

Avoid using aerosolized products within your home whenever possible. Have good ventilation when you’re painting, and try to find VOC-free paints. Finally, switch to natural air fresheners like essential oils.

2. Smoking Inside

You probably recognize some of the concerns about smoking inside your home. There’s the commonly discussed primary and second-hand smoke exposure that’s become common knowledge.

However, most people don’t realize there’s third-hand exposure as well. This happens when particles from the smoke become trapped in carpeting, furniture, wallpaper, clothing and linens.

Beyond the health exposure risks associated with smoking inside, it also poses a risk to your HVAC system. The particles from the smoke create a sticky film on your air filter, evaporator coil, heat exchanger and circulating fan. Airborne contaminants get stuck to this film, creating airflow restrictions in your system and reducing its efficiency.

3. Neglecting HVAC Filters

Replacing your HVAC filter is one of the simplest tasks for maintaining your system and improving your indoor air quality. Despite its simplicity and ease, it often goes neglected. If that’s the case, contaminants will continue to build up and then get sucked into the system and circulate back into your home.

While you may not need to replace your filter monthly, it’s a good idea to check it each month. This ensures you catch a dirty filter early and replace it before it can restrict airflow, further straining your system. When you check it, vacuum the intake side to remove the loose dirt to improve the filter’s efficiency between changes.

4. Skipping HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance helps keep your system running efficiently and catches small problems early. This is a critical step to prevent excessive strain, leading to major heating and AC repairs. It’s also an important step to improving your indoor air quality.

During normal operation, small airborne particles get through your filter and in through leaks in your system. These contaminants settle on your heat exchanger, evaporator coil and circulating fan. The circulating air picks them up and carries them back into your home, degrading your IAQ.

Our technicians will clean these areas during a professional maintenance visit. They’ll focus on the heat exchanger and circulating fan in the fall and on the evaporator coil in the spring. Your IAQ level will improve and you won’t have to worry about airflow restrictions.

5. Ignoring Leaks

You may notice a water leak here and there and disregard its potential impact on your home. These leaks could be from your plumbing or through your roof. The extra moisture creates an environment conducive to bacterial spore proliferation, a major contributor to poor IAQ.

6. Disregarding Ventilation

Your home depends on proper ventilation, which is the exchange of fresh outside air with stagnant inside air. If your home doesn’t have the right ventilation, the air inside becomes concentrated with numerous airborne contaminants. While you can open windows over the summer, you’ll need to consider other ventilation options for the cooler months.

Improve your home’s air quality to support your family’s health and to maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency. Call to schedule your indoor air quality consultation with our trusted technicians at Griffith Energy Services today.

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