What Is IAQ (Indoor Air Quality

September 28, 2015

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the purity levels of air in enclosed buildings. The composition of indoor air can mean the difference between good and bad health, as well as the comfort, of a building’s inhabitants. High IAQ should be devoid of pollutants such as microbial organisms, manmade or naturally-occurring gases, combustion products, and dust. A report by the EPA indicated that most American homes had poor IAQ that led to breathing complications and lung cancer among other health complications.

Components that compromise high/ pure IAQ

Particles and microbial organisms

Dust, pollen, mite, viruses, mold, fungi and mildew constitute particles and organisms that can saturate the air. The presence of these particles and organisms in the air not only make breathing difficult but may also cause respiratory and other illnesses to people and animal who breathe this air. Long term exposure to these pollutants can cause long term illnesses and death.

Naturally-occurring materials

Natural air, comprising oxygen and a small percentage of carbon dioxide and other gases, can be highly polluted by the presence of other naturally-occurring or synthetic gases. Radon is one of the most harmful (to humans and animals) naturally-occurring gases on earth, and it can seep into buildings through floor or wall cracks. A high concentration of this gas, over 4pci/L, is regarded as highly toxic and a primary cause of lung cancer.

Synthetic materials and combustion products

Other major IAQ pollutants include asbestos, combustion products, and Refrigerant/ formaldehyde. Combustion products comprise emissions from burning fuels, the most harmful ones being carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke. Smoke contains numerous toxic gases, including CO, and can cause humans and animals a myriad of heath complications. If and when breathed, smoke irritates the respiratory system and causes headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, and even death. Formaldehyde and asbestos are just as harmful to humans and animals. Asbestos are emitted from numerous construction material whereas formaldehyde is found in bonding and adhesive agents.

IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) refers to the quality of enclosed air. Primary IAQ pollutants include formaldehyde, particles, combustion products, and microbial organisms. Whereas some of these pollutants are easy to detect (through the five senses) and eliminate, other pollutants can only be detected and removed by special equipment and products. Building owners and inhabitants are advised to ventilate their buildings adequately, as well as install equipment and products that can detect and get rid of these pollutants. Follow us for more articles that guarantee your HVAC systems run efficiently.


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Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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