3 Myths About Common Home Air Quality Devices
1. Bathroom vents alone offer adequate ventilation
Bathroom vents will certainly help draw some moist air out of the immediate space and, in most cases, vent it outside. This helps keep the humidity from moving to adjacent rooms. Vents can also help with odors. But vents alone do not provide balanced ventilation. They don’t bring fresh air into the building to replace the vented air, so the total air volume is not being replaced. This means that the air in other rooms may have not only moisture but also carbon dioxide, pollen and other pollutants which are not being removed.
In addition, some older bathroom vents don’t vent directly outside. Most current building codes require outside venting, but in older homes, bathroom fans sometimes vent directly into the attic or other space, which means they aren’t removing moisture from the home at all.
2. Ionizers are a great way to keep indoor air clean and safe
Ionizers work by charging the particles in the air so that they are attracted to solid objects, removing them from the air. They do help remove some small particles, such as those found in tobacco smoke, but they don’t remove gases or larger particles, such as pollen or pet dander. Also, the particles that collect on walls and other solid surfaces can be reintroduced to the air when we touch them.
Ionizers also produce ozone, a gas that is a known lung irritant, as a by-product. Ozone exposure can cause coughing, headaches and shortness of breath.
3. Air cleaners will remove any health risks
Some air cleaners can help remove some particles from the air in their immediate vicinity. Air cleaners with HEPA filters can reduce the number of particles in the air, but they have a limited range. Air cleaners will not remove toxic gases from the air unless they have special filters, such as activated carbon.
Air cleaners also don’t remove particles that have settled on surfaces, meaning those particles (pollen, dust, and pet dander for example) may still be inhaled. Most air cleaners do not dehumidify the air, leaving the home vulnerable to mold.
A balanced ventilation system introduces fresh, filtered air from outside into the home while removing stale, humid air through the exhaust. This helps keep particles from ever entering the home to begin with as well as removing moisture and gases. The constant air exchange from an HRV or ERV system is the best way to ensure healthy air in a home