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5 Big Myths About Indoor Air Quality

Young Couple Relaxing On Couch
Many people don't stop to think much about indoor air quality, but if they do they often have misconceptions about the quality of their air and how to improve it. Here are five myths about indoor air quality.
1. The Best Way to Filter Your Air Is With an Air-Cleaning Machine
Air cleaning machines may make a good add-on to assist your AC filters, especially if you choose high-quality air cleaning machines with HEPA filters and size them correctly for your room. However, air cleaning machines are no substitute for the air filtration provided by your AC unit.
Replacing your AC filters with the highest quality available and keeping the filters fresh by installing new ones every few months is still the best way to get pollutants out of the air.
If you use cheap filters in your AC intake vents or if you're lax about replacement, you're not taking advantage of your best tool to filter out allergens and dust.
2. Plants Are a Great Substitute for Dust Filters
You may have heard that plants can filter out dust and chemicals from the air, as verified by NASA. This may be true to a degree, but any filtration efforts you make with house plants should be supplementary rather than a replacement for your main filtration system. For example, one plant can't filter all the air in your house effectively.
NASA's tests involved placing each plant in a small, controlled environment with specific amounts of air. However, there's much more air inside your home, and the conditions in many people's homes aren't great for plant air purification. Each plant has to have plenty of light and be quite healthy in order to purify even a small amount of air.
Houseplants in reasonable quantities may offer a slight boost, but they won't match the air cleaning potential of better HVAC filters and regular duct cleaning.
3. Indoor Air Is Cleaner Than Outdoor Air
Even if you live in the city, the quality of the air most likely shoots up the minute you step out your door. Natural processes such as the water cycle, nearby trees and forests, and other things help to purify outdoor air, and the contaminants in the outdoor air tend to be very diluted.
The air inside your home is much more concentrated in regard to how much pollution it gets from your breathing, your dead skin cells, the chemicals in your furniture and clothing, your pets' hair, and other byproducts of a normal life.
4. Ozone Machines Clean Your Air
You may have seen or heard some marketing for devices that put more ozone into your indoor air. It's true that this can make your air smell extremely fresh. However, tricking your brain into thinking that you're outside on a mountain isn't the same thing as actually getting your air clean.
Sellers may claim that ozone will react chemically to clean pollutants out of the air, but although this process may happen, it doesn't do so in a timely manner or at safe ozone levels. To actually clean your air with ozone, you'd need enough ozone to potentially cause major health problems. And it would still take a few months.
5. UV Lights Are a Great Addition to Air Cleaning
Ultra violet (UV) lights for air cleaning are actually quite controversial. Although UV rays can sterilize, they can't do so effectively when there's significant air movement, such as is found in an air cleaning machine. And without air movement, the amount of UV light in your unit couldn't reach enough air to make a difference.
UV sterilizing can also produce ozone, and elevated levels of ozone can be bad for your health as discussed above. So if you choose an air cleaning machine to supplement the filtration provided by your AC unit, avoid UV light features.
Whether you need better air filters, a thorough duct cleaning, or advice on choosing freestanding air cleaning machines for your house, give McGuffee's Air Conditioning & Heating a call today.