Our home plays a central role in our life from where we sleep and socialize to now where we perform our work. Before the pandemic hit the U.S., only about 7% of the population had the flexibility to work from home according to research completed by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. But now, most U.S. workers are working from home, which brings to light new challenges, one of which being the air quality in your home.
Before the pandemic, most people spent their time away from home, working in offices or out in the community, thus reducing the impact of their home’s air quality on them. However, now that we are all practicing social distancing and being compliant with the stay at home orders, the exposure to our home’s air quality will affect us.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental dangers stating that concentrations of air pollutants in your home are generally between two to five times more than the air outside. There are many contributing factors to your home’s air quality including the age of your home, the products you use, the furniture you buy, the plants you have, the animals you have, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, your ductwork, your cleaning habits, and many more.
For instance, your air filter in your HVAC system plays a significant role in your home’s air quality. Most residential HVAC systems circulate over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air through the filter several times per day. The filter’s job is to catch pollutants and tiny particles from the air passing through your HVAC system so that the air blowing into your home that you breathe is cleaner. However, this process is only useful if your air filters are changed regularly and do not become clogged. Clogged or dirty filters are incapable of catching tiny particles and pollutants, and therefore pollutants get blown through your ductwork into your home’s air, which you breathe. The longer the filter stays dirty, the less potential for helping your air quality, and the more inefficient your HVAC system becomes. Not only will clogged filters lead to your HVAC working inefficiently, releasing pollutants into your home’s air, but it will also raise your electric bill. A good rule of thumb is to mark one day a month on your calendar to change your HVAC filters. You can even ask Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa to set a reminder for you. Changing your filters monthly helps you maintain higher air quality.
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