Indoor Air Quality, Your HVAC System, and You

Do you find it hard to breathe in your home some days? Are you or your families more prone to headaches and asthma attacks during the summer months? You’re not allergic to heat—but you may have serious humidity problems in your home!

When we talk about indoor air quality, humidity is one of the main things we’re referring to. More and more families around the area are becoming concerned about their homes’ air quality and the effects it has on their health and comfort.

What factors contribute to indoor air quality?

Components of indoor air quality include temperature, humidity, ventilation, mold from water damage, noxious chemicals, VOCs, etc. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), ranks high humidity and poor HVAC maintenance near the top of their list of factors of poor indoor air quality.

How does humidity affect air quality?

  • Bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory infections thrive in extremely high and extremely low humidity.
  • Mold spores, dust mites and other allergens survive best in high humidity environments.
  • Higher humidity can increase the levels of noxious chemicals in the air, which may include ozone and formaldehyde.

How does humidity affect your home?

Poor indoor air quality caused by improper humidity levels can cause a wide range of problems, from making your family sick to damaging your walls, floors, and furniture.

High humidity is more of a problem in the summer, and is often found in homes with inadequate ventilation and poorly functioning air conditioning systems. High relative humidity conditions (over about 50-60%, depending on the temperature) can cause problems such as:

  • Damp air resulting in mold growth that can cause musty orders as well as symptoms ranging from nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation to dangerous lung infections.
  • High concentrations of dust mites can aggravate asthma symptoms.
  • High humidity can make warm temperatures feel even warmer, leading to an increase in heat-related illnesses like heat rash, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke.
  • Damp air creates condensation which damages indoor building materials.

The majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity can be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends temperature ranges of 68°F to 78°F at 50% relative humidity as comfortable for most homes.

Partner with the Professionals to Keep Humidity Levels Under Control

Improving indoor air quality in your home can be a daunting task. If the epidemic in your building is getting out of control, getting the best possible air quality means working hand-in-hand with qualified professionals who understand and can service the equipment that moves the air. A correctly designed and properly maintained HVAC system keeps humidity at correct levels.

Peninsula can perform an analysis of your ventilation system using ASHRAE guidelines to make sure the design is adequate for the space and building occupants. In addition, regularly scheduled maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems is imperative for keeping your systems working effectively and keeping air quality at optimal levels.

For AC maintenance in Delaware or Maryland, call Peninsula today!

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