If you’re like most people, you spend the majority of your time indoors. And unfortunately, indoor air quality can be a lot worse than outdoor air quality. That’s why it’s important to have indoor air quality services that you can count on. At Elevated Comfort, we provide indoor air quality services to Northern California cities like Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, and Mill Valley. We also service the surrounding areas of San Anselmo, Larkspur, Windsor, Novato, Petaluma, San Rafael, Healdsburg, and Corte Madera. We know how important it is to keep your indoor environment healthy and free from pollutants. Contact us today to learn more about our indoor air quality services!
What Affects Air Quality?
There are many things that can affect indoor air quality, such as pets, smoking, and construction. Pets produce dander, which is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. Smoking produces toxins that get released into the air and can cause respiratory problems. Construction can also release toxic fumes into the air if there isn’t proper ventilation. While these three examples address indoor air quality factors that come from inside the home or business, they are not the only things that can compromise the air quality in your property.
Other external factors can affect indoor air quality, too. These include airborne allergens like pollen and pollutants like carbon monoxide and smog. These environmental factors make up a significant portion of air quality problems in Santa Rosa and the surrounding areas. Unlike the internal factors mentioned above, though, these external air quality issues can be monitored with a tool called the Air Quality Index, along with meteorological and allergen monitoring available on news and weather programs.
Common Airborne Allergens and Pollutants
There are two primary categories of airborne contaminants that can have a negative impact on the quality of air inside your property: allergens and pollutants. Allergens are particles that cause an immune response in sensitive individuals, whereas pollutants are harmful chemicals that affect everyone, regardless of allergy sensitivity (though people with allergies will often be more severely affected than those without).
Pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander are among the most common allergens that can be carried in the air. Concentrations of these particles are often higher at certain times of the year than others. For example, mold thrives in humid conditions, so seasons with heavy rains can produce more mold spores than drier seasons. Chemical pollutants, like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, smoke, and soot, may travel as solid particles (soot, smoke) like many allergens or may be the result of fumes (CO, CO2). These categories also occasionally overlap, with household and commercial cleaning agents, air fresheners, and disinfectants causing allergic reactions and other health concerns when their fumes are concentrated without proper ventilation.
How Allergens and Pollution Affect Indoor Air Quality
Airborne allergens and pollution fill the air outdoors and cause significant health hazards when their concentrations are on the rise, but how does that translate to indoor air quality? When your air circulation system, like your air conditioner or your furnace, draws air into your property from outside, those particles and contaminants travel on the air and are circulated inside your property. However, unlike outdoor air quality, indoor air can’t be cleaned by heavy rains or a strong wind that removes or disperses the particles.
This can lead to a phenomenon known as Sick Building Syndrome. Symptoms of sick building syndrome often affect the entire household or the entire staff of a business simultaneously, rather than spreading from one to another, but increased frequency of respiratory infections is also an indication of poor indoor air quality. Other symptoms include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Sinus congestion
- Coughing and sneezing
- Dry or irritated skin, eyes, nose, or throat
- Allergy hypersensitivity
Understanding the Air Quality Index
California air quality data is separated into districts, with the vast majority of Elevated Comfort’s service area falling into the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. From there, the data is broken down further into zones, and then into cities and city segments. This data segmentation is important because one side of a city could have significantly higher levels of airborne pollutants than the other due to weather patterns and other factors.
The AQI, or Air Quality Index, gives residents a scale for the overall air quality, divided into six health ranges spanning 0-500 and assigned a color based on the severity of the potential health hazards and how many residents could be expected to have a negative reaction. For example, if the AQI is orange, people with asthma should limit outdoor activities but those with healthy lungs may be unaffected by more time outside. If the AQI is purple, though, everyone should limit outdoor activities and those with asthma should avoid them altogether.
How Is Indoor Air Quality Measured?
To measure the indoor air quality of your property, whether it’s commercial or residential, you’ll need a volatile organic compound (VOC) sensor. This is a specialized tool that can detect allergens and other chemical pollutants in the air. Once you have used the VOC sensor to identify the source of the contaminants, you can take whatever steps are necessary to reduce their impact.
Other tools that can help you monitor the air quality in your property include carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide meters, an accurate thermostat to monitor temperature, and moisture or humidity sensors. These sensors can help you learn what your specific air quality needs are before contacting a qualified contractor like Elevated Comfort for air quality services in Santa Rosa and the surrounding areas.
What Are Indoor Air Quality Services?
At Elevated Comfort, we offer two main categories of services that relate to air quality: IAQ and Air Duct Cleaning. IAQ services include the installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance of equipment like air purifiers and air cleaners, which remove VOCs and other harmful particles from the air in your property. Air duct cleaning, repair, and replacement remove buildup in your air ducts that can lead to dust and other particles circulating whenever your heating or cooling system is in use, as well as repairing air leaks and replacing damaged ducts to avoid contamination from external sources.
Elevated Comfort Helps You Breathe Easier
The indoor air quality in your home or business is more important than you may think. While the symptoms of indoor air pollution may seem like a minor annoyance, they can actually lead to much bigger health problems down the line if left untreated. At Elevated Comfort, we provide indoor air quality services that Northern California cities like Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Mill Valley, and more! Call today to schedule your IAQ services from an experienced, local HVAC contractor.