Indoor Air Pollution: Why Particle Size Matters
Maintaining good indoor air quality (IAQ) is important to your health. Indoor pollution can aggravate allergies, exacerbate asthma and cause numerous other health issues. There are all different kinds of pollutants that reside in the air in your home, ranging from mildly irritating to extremely dangerous.
When trying to improve your IAQ, it’s important to know about different kinds of contaminants and the threats they pose. It’s also important to understand that the hazard level of a particle is directly related to its size.
The particles in your air are measured in microns, a unit only visible with a microscope. For reference, the width of a human hair is about 100 microns. Pollen and similar allergens measure around 5 to 10 microns, and cigarette smoke is less than a micron.
Any particle 5 microns or smaller is small enough to pass through your lungs, and is therefore considered harmful. This includes things like dust, mold spores and other fungi, bacteria, viruses, and toluene and benzene gases. The smaller the particle, the more harmful it is, and anything under 2.5 microns is classified as a respirable suspended particle and considered very hazardous.
Your HVAC unit includes an air filter that can help to reduce indoor pollution, but it might not be enough. The efficiency of an HVAC filter is determined via controlled laboratory tests, rather than real-world conditions. And these tests often only include larger particles, failing to measure a filter’s ability to eliminate smaller, more harmful contaminants.
For more tips on getting rid of indoor pollution, as well as general heating and cooling advice, contact our experts at Sobieski Services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wilmington, Delaware and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: kat m research