Many things can affect the quality of the air that we breathe in on a second to second basis and we don’t always have to live near a smokestack factory for it to be bad. It’s interesting how our liking for having control over the temperatures inside our homes is also creating some unintended negative effects. Indoor air pollution is a result of allergens, bad odors and microorganisms – all swirling around in that circulated air inside our homes, which incidentally, are built better or “tighter” these days and keep all those things from escaping.
On Sanibel and Captiva Islands, where we have more water than land, mold spores growing from excessive moisture can pose a significant health threat. Excessive moisture can build up from storm water damage, leaking pipes or in poorly ventilated areas. Also, leaving a home unused for a long period of time can provide the perfect environment for mold growth.
Mold spores have been known to survive extreme temperatures, float through the air indefinitely or cling to our clothing or a pet’s fur. While there are many species of mold, some are even famous for being used for medicinal purposes, a few of them like to grow in our homes and are linked to a variety of health risks. They can cause allergic reactions, chronic respiratory illnesses and some, but only a few, can actually be toxic.
I’m not trying to scare you, it’s just that it’s a common concern that we receive a number of calls about.
A good solution to a mold issue is to begin with an effective clean-up, which isn’t always cheap. Mold damage can be difficult to contain, but what would be even more effective, is looking into prevention. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect your air conditioning system and make sure that it’s in great shape. You can also consider putting in some add-on features that could help you keep the air clean of spores.
A very simple and relatively inexpensive method is to install a UV light inside the air handler. They’re safe, prevent expensive chemical clean-ups and don’t cost more than energy-efficient fluorescent lights to operate.
We all love and greatly benefit from the natural effect of sunlight. Sunlight also serves as one of the best air purification systems around, and to an extent, it does help purify our indoor environment – entering through the windows and doors. The problem lies in the areas in our home that are never exposed to sunlight. Being an air conditioning contractor, I am of course speaking of your home’s comfort system. The air handler meets all of the requirements to be a great breeding ground for microorganisms. It’s dark, it’s moist and contains a constant food source to help these little “nasties” grow.
The sun’s ultraviolet C wave is the one that produces the light that is nature’s own sterilizer – perfect for cleansing the air. It has been scientifically proven to penetrate microorganism structure, disrupt their DNA and prevent them from breeding. By utilizing artificial ultraviolet light, humans have been able to mimic the sun’s ability and use it for germicidal irradiation. The practice has been used by food and wastewater industries since the 20th century and more recently, has found its way into air purification. The World Health Organization states that biological contaminates account for 50% of all home allergies. Artificial ultraviolet lights can be installed by an air conditioning contractor and help the sun shine where it normally doesn’t.
Thanks for reading,
Bryan Hayes, along with his brother Todd, is a co-owner of a Sanibel Air Conditioning company on Sanibel, FL. They also own and operate an island-based electrical service company Sanctuary Island Electric, Inc. Bryan can be reached at Bryan@Sanibelair.com