A big part of summer is the combination of high heat and increased humidity. These two elements, although integral to our idea of a typical summer, can, unfortunately, contribute to a worsening of indoor air quality. One issue that arises with higher temperatures is the escalation in levels of ground-level ozone. This pollutant comes into existence when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides – often found in emissions from industrial facilities and motor vehicle exhaust – react in the presence of sunlight. The very heat we cherish in summer provides ample opportunity for these reactions to occur, leading to higher concentrations of ground-level pollution.
Meanwhile, the increased humidity, another staple of summer, amplifies the levels of particulate matter. These are tiny particles or droplets suspended in the air that can pose a threat to human health if inhaled. As a result, the ‘feel good’ heat and humidity of summer indirectly degrade the purity of the air inside our homes.
The Hidden Consequence of Wildfires
Summers can be scorching, especially in certain regions, leading to a higher likelihood of wildfires. Aside from the obvious devastation they cause, wildfires also spew airborne particles and noxious gases into the air. Among these is carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can be harmful when inhaled in large amounts. While the outdoor air quality takes a substantial hit, the polluted air can also seep into homes if windows and doors are left ajar, causing a significant degradation in indoor air quality. Thus, something happening miles away can have a direct impact on the air you breathe within the walls of your home.
Unseen Threat: The Rapid Growth of Mold
One silent, yet significant, contributor to poor indoor air quality during summer is mold. Thriving in warm, humid conditions, mold can propagate quickly during this season. As it reproduces, mold releases spores into the air, which when inhaled can trigger allergic reactions and pose other health risks. Therefore, the unseen presence of mold becomes an invisible threat to indoor air quality during the warm, humid summer months.
The Surge of Allergens and Pollen: Impact on Indoor Air Quality
The advent of spring and summer brings a natural increase in pollen and allergens. These particulates, released into the air by trees, grasses, and flowers, form a significant part of the outdoor air composition during these warmer seasons. This phenomenon, while integral to natural ecological processes, presents a potential challenge to indoor air quality.
Pollen and allergens primarily affect outdoor air, but their influence can extend indoors as well. One common pathway for this indoor infiltration is through open windows and doors. During the warmer months, it’s natural to create airflow through homes for cooling purposes. However, this open access can inadvertently allow pollen and allergens to enter indoor spaces, contributing to a decrease in air quality.
Air Conditioners: Beneficial yet Potentially Detrimental
As an essential tool for combating summer heat, air conditioners run extensively during this season. However, if their filters are not changed regularly, these devices can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Filters play a critical role in trapping airborne contaminants. Yet, if they become dirty or clogged, they can end up recirculating these very pollutants throughout your living space. The routine maintenance of air conditioners, including regular filter changes, becomes a crucial task to ensure the betterment of indoor air quality.
Strategies for Enhancing Indoor Air Quality
Despite the challenges summer brings to maintaining good indoor air quality, there are several countermeasures available. Regular cleaning of air ducts can prevent the accumulation of dust and allergens, reducing their distribution around the house. The simple act of keeping windows and doors closed when outdoor air quality is compromised can help keep harmful pollutants from entering the home. Maintaining cleanliness within your living space can limit potential sources of indoor pollution, including dust and mold. Moreover, regular maintenance of HVAC systems ensures they function effectively in filtering pollutants and enhancing indoor air quality. By being proactive in these areas, you can provide your family with a healthier home environment and enjoy the summer without worrying about the quality of your indoor air.
Contact Us Today!
At Heatwave Heating & Cooling in Amherst, New York, we provide air filtration, air duct cleaning, and indoor air quality services for your home. Our punctual team also provides services for cooling, heating, and tankless water heaters. Contact Heatwave Heating & Cooling for more information today!