Sick Building Syndrome
According to the EPA, indoor levels of air pollutants are two to five times higher than outdoor air pollutants. One reason for this is that indoor air is recycled, trapping pollutants and causing them to build up over time.
"Over the past several decades, our exposure to indoor air pollutants has increased due to the construction of more tightly sealed buildings, reduced ventiilation rates to save energy, the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, and the use of chemically formulated personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners." (EPA Indoor Air Quality). The high incidence of indoor air pollution has introduced a new term into the English language: Sick Building Syndrome. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, sinus congestion, itchy or watery eyes scratchy throats nausea lethargy, and an inability to concentrate. Sick building syndrome can lead to repiratory infections and can aggravate symptoms associated with allergies and asthma.
Indoor air pollution has taken a toll in the work place as well. It negatively impacts employee performance and has contributed to increased absenteeism. It has been estimated that sick building syndrome costs employers approximately sixty billion dollars a year in employee sick leave and lost production.
You can improve the air quality in your home by having a mechanical air cleaner installed. A mechanical air cleaner may pay for itself by increasing energy efficiency and prolonging the life of your cooling system. The average home produces forty pounds of dust per year for every fifteen-hundred square feet of living space. Standard cardboard frame filters are only about fifteen percent effective in removing dust and particles from the air. They have little or no effect on pollen, micro-organisms, smoke or other similar pollutants. The same airborne particles which impact human respiratory health also may also damage home entertainment centers and computer equipment and can compromise air conditioning equipment by forcing it to work harder, thereby reducing its efficiency and possibly shortening its lifespan. Mechanical air cleaners are eighty to ninety-five percent effective in removing the airborne pollutants, including the smaller pollutants which readily pass through standard cardboard filters. These pollutants include bacteria, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus, smoke, cooking grease, bacteria and even some viruses.
A mechanical air cleaner consists of a case and a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter should be replaced once a year. If the HEPA filter is not replaced, it will eventually become so clogged that it will restrict air flow to your air conditioning system and the system will not be able to effectively cool your home or place of business.
Energy Saving Tips
How Your Air Conditioner Works
How Your Heater Works
How Your Heat Pump Works
Selecting an Air Conditioner
Selecting a Heater
Things to Check When Your Air Conditioner Isn't Cooling