AUSTIN (KXAN) — Outdoor air pollution can impact more than just “the outside.” Particulate matter, ozone and pollen can all sneak inside your home if precautions aren’t taken.
Meteorologist Kristen Currie spoke with Glory Dolphin Hammes, Chief CEO of IQAir North America, to find out how we can filter out the “bad” and keep the “good” inside our homes.
Below is a transcript of their interview. (NOTE: edits have been made for easier reading).
Kristen Currie, KXAN News: How does what’s happening in the air outside affect what’s inside?
Glory Dolphin Hammes, Chief CEO of IQAir North America: Well all of our air actually stems from outdoor air. So what we’re breathing indoors is a reflection of the outdoor air quality. It goes hand in hand.
Currie: What are things that we can do to be able to breathe the best air that we can inside?
Hammes: One of the things we can do is purify the air. We also want good ventilation and filtration. So it’s not just about getting in fresh, oxygen-rich air from the outdoors, but filtering it at the same time.
Currie: Are there certain machines or equipment that we need to be investing in to be able to clean the air on the inside?
Hammes: In Texas, I’m sure most folks will have an HVAC system, an air conditioning system or a heating system, probably all in one. And there are certain filters that you can get from the standard hardware store that will help purify your air. Most homes will also have a kitchen fan. You’ll also have, as a part of the code requirements, fans within the bathroom. And that’s really the only requirements to ventilate for homes.
Currie: So should we be leaving those fans on?
Hammes: That’s the way that we get the outdoor air. But the only issue with that is there isn’t actually filtration that’s taking place, unless you have your HVAC system on. So you want that combination of getting the ventilation from the outside air but also filtering at the same time.
Currie: So in Texas, we struggle with ozone in the summer. Is there anything that you can speak on when it comes to keeping that ozone out and keeping that indoor air quality clean?
Hammes: Yes. Now ozone can also be reduced with filtration. When you have a HEPA filter or mechanical filter, it will substantially reduce the amount of ozone. And that’s just because ozone is such a volatile chemical, it can be easily broken down by going through the filtration process.
Currie: What are some of the other common pollutants or things outside that you see getting in the home that cause problems?
Hammes: Pollen is definitely a serious allergen that can cause a lot of issues for us. But overall, believe it or not, particulate matter is the biggest killer in terms of pollutants than any other pollutant that we currently measure.