The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) defines indoor air as: “air within a building occupied for at least one hour by people of varying states of health.” Consequently, the quality of indoor air is defined as the “totality of attributes of indoor air that affect a person’s health and well-being.” Some studies have suggested that indoor air quality can at times be poorer than that of the outdoors, as many unsuspecting pollutants make their way into closed spaces.
Air pollution comes from many sources including:
- Heaters and gas stoves
- Formaldehyde and other chemicals (originating from building materials and furniture)
- Chemicals for cleaning
- Personal care items, essential oils, candles and air fresheners
- Ducted and split system air conditioning systems
- Pollution entering from outside the home
- In older homes, asbestos can also be present
The effects of indoor air pollution on home/building occupants vary and can manifest immediately or over time. Short term exposure can usually be easily repaired, but long term exposure may cause serious and ongoing health problems. Anything from irritation of the eyes, nose or throat to headaches, dizziness and fatigue can be the result of indoor air pollution.
Clements care about the quality of indoor air for both our residential and commercial clients. From pets to paints, to the handy clothes dryer, airborne contaminants at home and work abound. Don’t despair- before building yourself a sanitary, sterile bubble, we have some suggestions for keeping those nasties to a minimum:
- Ensure bathrooms, kitchens, toilets and laundry rooms all have vents directly outdoors and always use a quiet, energy efficient fan.
- Clothes dryers should vent to outside.
- All toxic compounds, such as paint and pesticides, should be stored safely in non-habited rooms.
- Minimise the use of unvented sources of combustion such as candles, cigarettes and portable heaters.
- Ensure windows are open when using high polluting products such as strong chemical cleaners, paints and varnishes.
- Regularly clean air-conditioning filters and have proper maintenance checks. Particle filters can also help to keep dirt out of the air and out of your ductwork.
How can air-conditioning specifically affect indoor air quality? A lot of people are unaware that their air conditioning does more than pump out warm or cool air on request. High efficiency systems help control indoor air quality as well.
To maintain clean and fresh indoor air quality, change filters at the beginning of every heating or cooling season. Filters keep out dust, pollen and spores. The dirtier the filter gets, the harder your system works, which will increase your running costs, as well as decrease air filtration effectiveness.
Other suggestions for using your air-conditioning to control indoor air quality include:
- Ensure you have an efficient system, you can always ask the experts at Clements to check!
- Avoid using ductless systems and portable air conditioners that have no capacity to filter the air.
- Keep household (or office) humidity low.
When you think about it, indoor air quality can be a scary topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Your ducted air-conditioning system can ensure high air quality over a long period of time if you select the right unit, have it installed correctly and keep up with the general maintenance.
At Clements, we care about your indoor air quality at home and work, and if you have any questions regarding which systems are able to help you keep the air clean, give the experts at Clements a call today on 4932 3833.