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There are a variety of health and environmental effects that are caused by poor air quality.  According to the EPA, asthma is a growing public health problem with about 23 million people suffering from asthma, 6.8 million of which are children.  Other problems caused by poor air quality are rhinitis, bacteria, sinusitis, dust and dirt build-up, excessive molds and mildew, smoke, increased utility bills (decreased air flow) and unpleasant fumes and odors.  Fifty percent of illnesses, such as colds and flu, allergies and asthma, are caused or aggravated by mold, mildew, bacteria and fungi according to the American College of Allergists. 
 
The American Lung Association states that the average American spends 70% of their time indoors and that the quality of indoor air can be 5 times worse than the air outside.  In our quest to be more energy efficient, we are adding insulation, vapor barriers, caulk and weather-stripping to help retain our heated or cooled air in our homes.  Unfortunately, this reduces air infiltration from the outside so that air and pollutants remain inside longer. 
 
The HVAC (heating and cooling) industry has already come up with ways to improve the air quality in your homes.  There are a variety of products currently on the market today to help combat poor air quality as well as some simple preventative measures homeowners can take.
 
A great way to improve indoor air quality is through an air purification system.  This whole-house filtration system connects to your heating and cooling system.  The Infinity Air Purifier, by CARRIER is one of the most effective whole-house air systems available on the market today.  This system will remove 99.98% of allergens from filtered air and traps particles down to .3 microns in size.  This system is also 100 times more effective than 1” filters.  This system delivers clean air to the whole house and more of it. 
 
Another option is an Air Cleaner which will also attach to your heating and cooling system.  An air cleaner can improve your health and comfort by keeping your entire home cleaner, protect your furnishings and save you time and the aggravation of continuous dusting and cleaning.  Whole-house air cleaners are up to 40 times more efficient than standard heating system filters.  It cleans irritants from the air such as bacteria, allergens, respirable dust and other airborne contaminants.  Another benefit of a whole-house air cleaner is that it protects against the build-up of dust and dirt in your heating and cooling system, which if left alone can lead to increased and expensive maintenance as well as premature failure. 
 
Ultraviolet (UV) Germicidal Lamps are another way to remove airborne contaminants from your home.  Mold and bacteria can easily grow on air conditioning coils as a result of normal condensation that takes place during the cooling process.  A UV Germicidal Lamp is designed to eliminate the mold and bacteria on the air conditioning coils.  The elimination of mold and bacteria will reduce your family’s risk of allergic reactions and illnesses as well as get rid of foul odors.  It also allows your home comfort system to run less often, for shorter periods of time and at peak efficiency. 
 
Whole-house duct cleaning is also a great way to improve air quality inside your home.   Duct cleaning dislodges dirt and debris in the airflow systems and is followed by a thorough cleaning.  This cleaning will kill germs and bacteria, remove dust from your home, improve the efficiency of your system, and make your home smell clean and fresh.
 
A last simple thing that homeowners can do is change the filters on their heating and cooling system once a month.  This will cut down on the amount of dust and pollutants in the air.  Filters remove dust and other particles from the air such as pollen, bacteria, smoke, smog, pet dander, and plant and mold spores.  They will also help increase the energy efficiency and prolong the life of your heating and cooling system.
 
The air we breathe in our homes is loaded with pollutants and since we spend so much of our time indoors, we owe it to ourselves and our families to provide the cleanest air we can.  Removing dust, allergens, bacteria and odors can do wonders for your health and the quality of your life. 

Sources:
www.lindstromair.com
www.epa.gov
www.lungusa.org
www.acaai.org

July 29, 2009