Indoor Air Quality: Pollutant, Filtration and Circulation Control

By Frank Robbins, LEED, AP

It’s officially winter and the quality of the air inside our homes is of critical importance.  If you don’t pay attention to pollutants, filtration and circulation bad things can happen.  Let me illustrate my point with a few, completely and utterly hypothetical examples that were definitely NOT taken from my own experiences.


Pollutants:  Say for example’s sake, someone’s wife left a bunch of wet, moldy and rotten floor mats by the air intake of a furnace.  Theoretically, that could cause a situation where for two weeks everyone in the house would wake up with a pounding headache, sore throat and cough that would go away after being at work for a couple of hours.  Locating that source of pollution and dragging it to the curb on trash day would make a great difference in indoor air quality.


Filtration:  Say, (now let’s just say) that you were making a little fire engine out of a cardboard box for your 15-month old son to play with.  Lets say that your wife and son were out of town and that you decided to put down plastic, open the windows and spray paint a couple of sides of it red.  In that case, a completely red-colored, relatively new HEPA-furnace filter would have done its job and illustrated its own importance.


Circulation:  Lets imagine that your starter house was smaller than the furniture that you owned and that your rug and couch obscured most of the one and only return duct on the first floor.  When you try to ambitiously cook something for the first time, the smell of it might just linger there for the next week or more.


Take what you will from these hypothetical situations, hopefully they underline why pollution control, proper filtration and good air circulation are important for good indoor air quality.