Indoor air quality means the air quality within our homes, buildings and structures. It constitutes the various physical and chemical constituents of the indoor environment. This significantly impacts the health of the occupants and determines the comfort level of the people residing there. Indoor air pollution refers to the increase/decrease of unwanted/wanted particles in the air.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air quality can get polluted by releasing harmful gases or liquids from household substances that deteriorate air quality. Inadequate ventilation can aggravate the problem by not diluting the contaminated air or not allowing the indoor air to move outside. High humidity and high temperature can add fuel to this pollution.
The main sources of indoor air pollution can be tabulated as below-
1. Tobacco and its use
2. Building material and finishings applied to surfaces like varnish, asbestos etc.
3. Indoor cooking
4. Outside sources like pesticides etc.
Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
The effects of this silent killer can be short-term/immediate, or long-term. Short-term effects include irritation in our sense organs, nausea, headaches and fatigue. Most of the time, these effects can be minimised by reducing or eliminating the exposure of the person to the source of the pollution.
A long period of exposure to an unhealthy environment can result in serious illnesses such as respiratory problems, heart illness or cancer. Hence, it is recommended to enhance indoor air quality even if the symptoms of indoor air pollution are not visible.
Heating And Cooling Systems
The artificial heating and cooling systems we currently use in our homes can either positively or negatively impact indoor air quality. What is essential to note here is that it depends on the type of the conditioning system, what pollutants are we dealing with and the overall layout or plan of the building we are considering. Leaky ductwork can lead to various unwanted creatures or substances entering our home from the outside.
Another deadly problem is back-drafting, in which harmful air pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur enter our home due to pressure differential occurring between our house and surrounding. Inefficient, old or faulty systems can lead to humidity issues such as too much humidity or too low. Most heating and cooling systems depend on a regulated flow of air to maintain a constant inside temperature and other physical conditions. To achieve this, most newer houses have decreased the available ventilation systems, resulting in poor air circulation between inside and outside temperatures. Such a closed system only redistributes odour and harmful vapours.
The recent coronavirus outbreak has made people ponder the indoor air quality problems. Buildings, particularly hospitals, required a varying degree of isolation in case of areas with infected patients and suitably separating them from the infected ones.
Air Conditioning In Today’s Homes
Today, air conditioning systems are an integral component of any home. It can regulate indoor air quality, and with advancing technology, it has ventured into new capabilities. They keep our home cool during summer and hot during winter. Today they are also greener and have a less negative environmental impact.
Dual inverter AC has brought significant improvement over the old traditional ACs. It creates fewer vibrations and hence less noise. Due to greater temperature control at considerable precision, it can also achieve the required temperature easily.
The perfect choice of an AC depends on the tonnage, Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), Coefficient of Performance (COP) and star rating. For example, a 1 ton 3 star AC means that the AC has a tonnage of 1 ton which signifies the amount of heat it can remove in one hour. The star rating shows how environmentally economical the AC is.
A quality air cooling system maintains ambient conditions to prevent the growth of emission of unwanted substances. It removes unwanted substances generated from various sources. It also depends on a proper ventilation system to regulate the flow of essential importance and improve the removal of unwanted substances. Such a system syncs with the outside environment, keeping in mind the requirements of its inhabitants. A smart cooling system like this has generated interest in the market. However, parallel research must be carried out to perfect air conditioning systems to purify indoor air quality.