7 Tips for Improving IAQ for Elderly Family Members in Sumter, SC

Poor air quality contributes to respiratory irritation and infections, especially among the elderly. Consider these seven tips for improving indoor air quality for elderly family members around Sumter, SC.

1. Stay on Top of Filter Changes

The number one way to improve air quality is to stay on top of changing your air filter. Changing filters should already be part of your HVAC maintenance routine. If you do not currently schedule regular system maintenance, now is the time to start.

One- and two-inch filters are the most common and need replacing every 30 to 90 days. Larger filters may need changing less frequently. Plan to check your filter every month so that you catch when it needs changing before it causes strain.

2. Consider Pleated Air Filters

When it comes to air filters, there are a lot of options for various designs and ratings. Design usually comes down to flat fiberglass or pleated with polyester. Filters are also constructed from paper or cotton filtering material.

Pleated filters offer more filtering surface area in the same size filter, usually lasting longer. The difference in filtering material usually means that it will remove more contaminants.

Check your system manual to know which filter ratings will work effectively. Using a filter that’s rated higher than what the system allows can reduce its heating and cooling efficiency.

3. Manage the Humidity in Your Home

Humidity is extremely important when managing your home’s air quality. When the air is too dry, contaminants also dry out and stay airborne longer. Conversely, too much humidity will create an environment where spores and other biological contaminants thrive.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the ideal indoor humidity level is between 30% to 50%. To achieve this around Sumter, you may need help dehumidifying in the summer while adding humidity in the winter.

4. Reduce Chemical Use

Chemical compounds are one of the major sources of indoor contaminants, and they are completely controllable. Chemical cleaners add VOCs to the air as you spray or as steam and heat aerosolize these into the air.

Many air fresheners also contain VOCs, not to mention other harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde. Even dryer sheets have many of these chemicals that are released into the air.

Try to opt for natural products that do not contain these toxic chemicals. There are plenty of products on the market today that are highly effective for cleaning without the use of harsh chemicals.

5. Improve Ventilation

It’s important to have a controlled exchange between the air inside your home and the air outside. This helps draw in fresh air while venting out air that’s full of contaminants from inside your home. Having an HVAC professional install a whole-home mechanical ventilator is an excellent way to ensure your household is properly ventilated.

An energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, works to both improve ventilation along with heating and cooling efficiency. These devices have a heat exchanger that allows heat transfer between the incoming and outgoing air. This technology cools air coming in over the summer while warming air coming in over the winter.

6. Use Appropriate Monitors

Radon and carbon monoxide are considerable risks for the elderly, especially if they live in an aging home. There are a wide range of easy-to-install radon monitors. Alternatively, you can have a professional test your home every two years to check radon concentration.

Carbon monoxide is an immediate danger if present in your home. Keep an operational detector in your home and check it about once a month. Keep in mind that these are good for five to seven years, so plan to replace them to ensure proper carbon monoxide detection.

7. Add an Air Cleaner or Purifier

If your home needs additional air quality help, consider adding an air cleaner or purifier. These come in a wide range of options, from individual room models to devices that you can install on your HVAC system.

Air cleaners release negatively charged particles to cause contaminants to stick together and fall from the air. Air purifiers use various methods of rendering various airborne particles inert, helping to remove everything from pathogens to odors.

Get the best help with improving the air quality in your home. Call to schedule a consultation with the indoor air quality specialists at Air Solutions Heating and Cooling today.

Image provided by iStock

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