Statistics show that most people spend between 80% to 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air often has more pollutants than outdoor air. In many buildings, dust and contaminants are responsible for respiratory problems, fatigue, and lethargy.
Therefore, indoor air quality has an impact on health, comfort, and productivity. But how can you tell if there are harmful pollutants in the building? In this article, we’ll look at IAQ monitors and how they can address air quality issues in your Phoenix home.
Factors Influencing Indoor Air Quality
There are many ways you can enhance indoor air quality. The methods you use will depend on factors that are sometimes unique to your home.
Today, most buildings have an airtight construction with high-grade insulation to minimize energy losses. Additionally, households are increasingly using detergents and chemical cleaners that produce Volatile Organic Compounds. Even small amounts of VOCs can cause nose and throat irritation. Moderate amounts are known to cause headaches and respiratory problems.
CO is an odorless and colorless gas. At low levels, it can cause migraines and fatigue. You may also experience vomiting, dizziness, and nausea. Carbon monoxide poisoning is usually present in any process involving combustion. That’s why your heating system needs to have a carbon monoxide detector to minimize CO poisoning hazards.
Types of Sensors to Detect Contaminants
It’s easy to notice when you have an indoor air quality issue. However, the source of the contaminants is not always exact. Fortunately, there are various types of sensors for monitoring the levels of the different pollutants in your home.
IAQ devices can detect:
- VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
- Radon gas
- High levels of humidity
- Carbon monoxide leaks
The regulations for the state of Arizona require homes to have carbon monoxide detectors. Champion Air recommends consulting IAQ experts if you’re concerned about your indoor air quality in Phoenix.
A professional should service your water heaters, furnace, and gas appliances every year. Tune-ups can prevent defects in your furnace that may raise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Implications of Sensor Placement
Arizona regulations also require that you have a sensor for every sleeping area in a residential building. Ideally, the location of the sensor should be close to the main bedroom so you can hear the alarm. To ensure accurate detection, consider placing one monitor for every floor and the garage and basement.
The IAQ monitor must never be close to equipment that could influence its operation. Such equipment includes personal heaters, induction units, and floor fans.
The type of pollutant you’re trying to detect will also determine where you place the device in the room. Most monitoring devices are wall-mounted and installed at the eye level. At that height, the device can take samples that are closer in composition to your home’s indoor air. It, therefore, facilitates accurate readings better than floor and wall-mounted devices.
However, some particles can either be significantly heavier or lighter than air. Their molecules will tend to either sink to the floor or rise to the level of the ceiling. As a result, a wall-mounted device doesn’t generate the most accurate results for such compounds. Therefore, the type of pollutant you’re testing will inform you of the proper placement for your IAQ monitor.
Smart Technologies and IAQ Monitors
Monitors will come with a screen where you can check the values for your home’s indoor air quality. But modern monitors can also connect to your smartphone for better IAQ data accuracy. Smart devices can send data to the cloud and turn them into charts to enhance readability for the user.
One of the advantages of a smart device is its convenience. Some monitors have features that let you turn on the air purifier whenever your indoor air quality reading is low. Also, you can make adjustments through your smartphone when you’re at work or while on vacation.
A monitor that provides reliable data can also help you to pinpoint the cause of air pollution precisely. That way, you can take appropriate steps, such as removing the source of the pollutants or adjusting your HVAC settings.
For example, if you live near a highway, your monitor will have higher values for pollutants, such as carbon monoxide. With a smart device, you can set the air purifier to turn on around the peak hours so the air is always clean.
Another example is if one monitor in your house shows high CO or VOC values. It could be an indication that the room doesn’t have adequate ventilation. You may also want to consider the kind of work that takes place around the building. Activities like painting and carpet cleaning can introduce VOCs into your home.
Most air conditioning systems will draw outdoor air depending on predetermined heating or cooling loads. When there are no occupants, the system will overwork as it attempts to meet the IAQ demands of the building. Smart IAQ monitoring can accurately manage airflow to reduce energy consumption in your home.
Tips for Enhancing Indoor Air Quality
An IAQ monitor can generate data you can use to enhance your home’s air quality. There are many types of sensors that can measure various pollutants, such as CO2, formaldehyde, and VOCs.
The type of monitor you choose will depend on the potential threats that exist within your home. If there are activities such as painting and carpet cleaning, you may want to focus on VOCs. On the other hand, if you live near a busy urban area with lots of traffic, you may want to test for CO2.
If you can, eliminating the source of the pollutant is the most effective way to improve your indoor air quality. For example, some carpets emit hazardous volatile organic compounds. In that case, the most practical solution is to replace the carpet and get one that’s safe for your home.
As you continue to monitor the building, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of the presence of hazards. You’ll then need to determine the best corrective action that will get rid of those risks. Sometimes, a simple short term solution like opening the windows to facilitate ventilation is enough.
However, contaminants could be from other sources, such as a poorly maintained HVAC unit. Failing to change or replace filters can restrict airflow, which could impact your home’s air quality. That is why at Champion Air, we recommend scheduling an annual tune-up in Phoenix.
The ducts and fans are designed to expel contaminated air outdoors and subsequently draw fresh air indoors. However, your AC system may fail to perform that task if the outdoor source of air is polluted. Your system may require a filtration system that can capture particulate matter and allergens.
You may also need to install or upgrade your filtration system if you live in a home with many occupants. Debris, pet dander, pollen, and dust can shorten the lifespan of your HVAC system. Our experienced team can help you choose a suitable solution to protect both your equipment and your home.
You can rely on Champion Air, a premier heating and cooling company offering quality solutions in Phoenix. We provide dependable, expert Indoor Air Quality Services to the Phoenix, AZ area and nearby communities. We also offer air conditioning installation and expert AC repair services in Scottsdale and Phoenix! For prompt services, please schedule an appointment with us today.