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Heating & Air News

Is Indoor Air Quality Really Worse than Outdoor Air?

Posted by Howell's Heating & Air on August 31, 2016

Fall in Virginia MountainsSummer is coming to a close and families are beginning to gear up for their favorite fall nesting rituals. Regardless of your personal fall traditions, one thing is for certain, we’re all about to be spending a lot more time indoors.

Here in Virginia, bearable weather usually holds out until around Halloween, and if we’re lucky, Thanksgiving. As the brisk winter winds begin to blow and the homework starts piling up, the number of hours spent indoors increases drastically. What does this mean for your family?

Indoor Air Quality Vs. Outdoor Air Quality

You might be surprised to learn that the air in your home could be two to five times worse than the outdoor environment. According to the EPA and other sources, homes have been discovered with air 100 times worse than the air outside.

HVAC_Filter.jpgIndoor air can have a major impact on the health of your family. Inadequate ventilation is one of the primary causes for indoor air problems. No matter what bad pollutants and toxins are floating around your home, good ventilation can help make sure those particles are pulled out of the air you’re breathing.

Does Changing Air Filters Improve Indoor Air?

Yes, a clean HVAC filter will certainly remove heavier particles from the air you’re breathing. But dangerous substances like Radon won’t be removed by an HVAC filter. Opening the windows from time to time helps, but the best option is to have a dedicated ventilation system in place.

Richmond, Virginia is situated directly over a major fall line. Based on what’s underneath the earth, homes situated on the Western side of the fall line are in much higher danger of Radon. In fact, about 50% of homes in Richmond should consider radon mitigation systems.

Radon Map of Virginia


Radon Map Photo Credit: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/radiologicalhealth/radon/Virginia%20Radon%20Map.htm

Here are a few of the top sources for indoor air pollution:

  • Residential_Exhaust_Vents.jpgTobacco products
  • Fuel-burning combustion appliances
  • Asbestos-containing insulation
  • Newly installed floors, upholstery or carpet
  • Pressed wood cabinetry or furniture
  • Excess moisture
  • Radon
  • Pesticides
  • Outdoor air pollution

Improving Indoor Air Quality

The EPA recommends a three prong strategy to improving the quality of air in a residential home:

  • Remove All Known Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
  • Improve Indoor Ventilation
  • Install Air Cleaners

Howell’s Can Help Evaluate and Improve Indoor Air Quality

Our trained HVAC technicians in Richmond can evaluate the air in your home to find out if your family is living in an at risk home. If a problem is detected, we can design solutions specifically geared to improving the air in your home.

Contact us to learn more about indoor air quality, ventilation systems, or air cleaners, or hire the finest AC repair and installation in Glen Allen, Tuckahoe, Midlothian, and beyond. 

Learn More About Indoor Air Quality


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Topics: indoor air quality, HVAC filter

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