How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a critical aspect of maintaining a healthy and comfortable home environment. There are several different solutions available for improving IAQ by adding equipment to your HVAC system. As a local HVAC company, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating specializes in creating the best air quality in your home by installing whole house air cleaners, air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers. Each of these solutions improves indoor air quality caused by a number of seasonal changes and the environment in northern Indiana.

If you need relief from allergies or underlying respiratory problems, or you have family members with asthma, our team is eager to find help. Your home should be an oasis both from extreme temperatures and airborne irritants. We provide extensive consultation that focuses on your specific needs.

Poor Air Quality

Many people envision air pollution as an outdoor concern. The six pollutants of primary concern are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution (often referred to as particulate matter), and sulfur oxides. You may suffer from seasonal allergies associated with outdoor air, but particulates and pollution are often more concentrated within indoor air. Outdoor air pollution enters your home through natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Natural ventilation refers to openings in your home including windows, doors and vents. Mechanical ventilation includes the air conditioner, furnace, air ducts, vent and return ducts.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

As well as harmful particles and pollutants entering your home from the outside, many household items and appliances create poor indoor air quality. It may be quite surprising that cooking, cleaning and even your heating system pose potential health risks. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gasses released from some cleaners and personal care products. Paint, cleaners, disinfectants, scented candles and air fresheners impact indoor air quality. Within your garage, gasoline, adhesives, pesticides and paint cans may emit VOCs.

Volatile organic chemicals are well-known sources of indoor air pollution. Carbon emissions are also common sources of potentially harmful chemicals. Carbon monoxide detectors warn you of excessively high levels of this potentially deadly chemical. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headaches and blurry vision. Thousands of Americans visit emergency rooms each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Poorly maintained furnaces and fireplaces pose serious risks for carbon monoxide exposure as well. If exhaust fumes are not ventilated out of your home, you may notice strange odors, and carbon monoxide detectors may sound.

There are also some surprising sources of indoor air pollution. If you have poor ventilation, cooking can quickly impact indoor air quality. Natural gas exhaust should be controlled with your kitchen exhaust fan and HVAC systems. Boiling water and cooking oil increase indoor humidity and disperse into your air indoors. Even when you use fans in your kitchen, common indoor air pollutants exist throughout your home. Dust, pet dander, bacteria, mold and other airborne particulates greatly impact indoor air quality.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is 2-5 times worse than fresh air outdoors. Improving indoor air quality consists of controlling the sources of air pollution, improving ventilation and adding indoor air quality equipment.

Controlling Sources

As previously noted, regular maintenance of furnaces and air conditioners and cleaning your air ducts help to control potential health risks like mold growth and carbon monoxide leaks. Replacing air filters is a simple maintenance step you may perform each month on your own. Reducing air pollution created by cooking is also a primary step.

Creating natural ventilation by opening doors and windows and using ceiling fans also reduces the health risks of sources of indoor air quality. Cleaning your home and incorporating indoor plants promotes good air quality.

Improving Ventilation

Indoor air problems are most effectively improved by better airflow. If you think about outdoor air, there is a constant circulation and disbursement of air. The best ventilation system is designed to recreate this air exchange throughout your home. A steady and efficient airflow starts within your air handler or the furnace’s blower wheel. Air moves into every room of your home, and the pressure of new air entering the room returns stale air through return air ducts. The stale air mixes with fresh air and passes through air filters before starting the cycle anew.

Optimizing HVAC systems includes cleaning and maintaining air conditioning and heating systems before each season; renewing air filters each month or according to manufacturer guidelines; cleaning and adjusting air vents for ideal performance; and designing air ducts for maximum efficiency. A great amount of energy waste and poor air quality is directly attributable to poor air duct design and leaks. Air conditioner and heating system inspections should include air duct inspections.

Smart thermostats also serve to improve indoor air quality and optimize ventilation. These devices learn your patterns and adjust HVAC systems to provide the most efficient use of energy without sacrificing circulation.

Adding HVAC Equipment

Opening windows and adding house plants provides some source control. Even the best natural ventilation and HVAC systems may benefit from adding indoor air quality equipment.

Media Air Cleaners

Whole house air cleaners are designed to remove particulate matter, such as dust, pet dander and pollen. This has a great effect on improving indoor quality because a standard air filter is only capable of controlling up to 80% of particulates. Media air filters are much more complex in design and can be effective at eliminating up to 95% of particulates from indoor air.

Air cleaners are typically installed as part of the HVAC system and can be integrated with a filter or as a standalone unit. Our professional HVAC technicians advise the best location and ideal media air cleaner to reduce the levels of particulate matter in the air. These systems help to alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. Media air cleaners are not a cure for poor ventilation, but they can reduce air pollution from cycling back into your home’s living areas.

Air Purifiers

Whole house air purifiers work similarly to air cleaners, but, in addition to eliminating particulate matter, these devices focus on other pollutants such as gasses, odors and volatile organic compounds. Air purifiers use different technologies such as HEPA filters, activated carbon and UV-C lights to remove these pollutants from the air. Air purifiers are designed to neutralize bacteria, viruses, mold and other biological irritants. Ultraviolet light is highly effective at destroying these pollutants.

Homeowners are better protected during cold and flu season with the installation of a whole house air purifier. Better indoor air quality is not just about the indoor air pollution you can see and smell. Viruses and mold spores pose serious health risks to your family.


Whole home humidifiers are another important solution for maintaining a healthy IAQ. During the winter months, cold outdoor air cannot hold moisture like warm spring and summer air. When heating systems are in use, the air inside homes can become even drier. Low humidity levels can cause dry skin, itchy eyes, and other health problems. Dry air also impacts surfaces like hardwood floors, wood furniture and cabinets. A humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air and bring the humidity level up to a more comfortable range.


Dehumidifiers are the opposite of humidifiers. They help in removing humidity from the air. When humidity is high during the spring and summer, the air can feel heavy and sticky. In your home and areas in the basement and crawls, mold and mildew can grow more easily. Dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air and can help to prevent mold and mildew growth, as well as make the air feel more comfortable.

Experts in Indoor Air Quality

Air conditioning and heating systems can be optimized to improve indoor air quality, but most homeowners are delighted to discover affordable and effective solutions can be added to treat your entire home. Instead of worrying about cleaning portable units and the limitations of smaller devices, working with an expert HVAC installer assures your indoor air pollution is controlled and overall air quality improves. Whether you need to control allergies and irritants or improve overall comfort, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating can help.