Indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a crucial role in the health and well-being of residents, particularly in enclosed environments where people spend a significant portion of their time. Understanding the terminology associated with indoor air quality is essential for homeowners looking to improve their living conditions and safeguard their health. As Salt Lake City's premier heating and cooling company, we recognize the importance of clear and accessible information about air quality issues and solutions. 

Join us as we compile key terms and concepts related to indoor air quality, providing residents of Salt Lake City and beyond with the knowledge needed to effectively address air quality in their homes. Whether you're dealing with allergens, pollutants, or seeking ways to enhance your home's air system, this guide will serve as a valuable resource.

Airborne Particulates

Airborne particulates refer to tiny particles suspended in the air, which can range from dust and pollen to smoke and mold spores. These particulates differ in size, typically measured in microns, and can affect both the air quality and health of individuals exposed to them. Particulates that are smaller than 10 microns in diameter are known to penetrate deeply into the lungs, potentially leading to respiratory issues and other health problems. Effective filtration systems in HVAC units are critical in capturing these particles and maintaining optimal indoor air quality.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are gases that are emitted into the air from products or processes. Common sources of VOCs inside homes include paint, solvents, cleaning agents, and synthetic materials. Exposure to high levels of VOCs can lead to health effects ranging from throat irritation and headaches to more severe health consequences. Solutions to decrease VOC concentration in a home involve improving ventilation, using air purifiers specially designed to remove VOCs, and selecting low-VOC or VOC-free products when possible.

Humidity Levels

Maintaining appropriate humidity levels is imperative for both extending the lifespan of building materials and ensuring a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Ideal indoor humidity typically ranges from 30% to 50%. Higher humidity can promote the growth of mold and mildew, while air that’s too dry can cause irritation of the skin and respiratory tract. We utilize tools like hygrometers to measure humidity levels and recommend solutions such as humidifiers or dehumidifiers, depending on the needs of your space.

HVAC Efficiency

HVAC efficiency not only pertains to the energy consumption of heating and cooling systems but also affects indoor air quality. Systems that are maintained properly and run efficiently are better at controlling indoor temperature, humidity, and air circulation, subsequently improving the overall air quality inside a home. Regular maintenance, such as replacing filters, cleaning ducts, and ensuring that all components are functioning as designed, is vital. Enhanced HVAC efficiency is achieved through timely tune-ups and upgrades to more advanced, energy-efficient models when needed.

Filtration and Air Cleaners

The terms 'filtration' and 'air cleaners' encompass all methods and devices used to clean indoor air. Filters, inserted within the HVAC system, trap particulates circulating through the air, thus preventing them from re-entering the living space. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are particularly effective as they can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. Meanwhile, air cleaners or purifiers use various technologies, including HEPA, activated carbon, and others, to remove contaminants directly from indoor air. These systems are invaluable for homes in areas with high pollutant levels or for households where members suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions.

Mold Spores and Mitigation

Mold spores are a common concern when discussing indoor air quality, as they can thrive in damp, humid conditions and potentially lead to health issues like asthma or allergic reactions. Mitigation involves controlling humidity levels, fixing leaks, and ensuring proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, which mold spores thrive on. In severe cases, professional mold remediation may be necessary to safely and effectively eliminate mold from indoor environments, followed by measures to prevent its reoccurrence.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that results from incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. In homes, sources of CO can include gas stoves, furnaces, and water heaters. Because CO is undetectable without a sensing device and highly toxic, ensuring that homes are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors is crucial. Furthermore, regular maintenance of appliances and proper ventilation can prevent the buildup of dangerous CO levels, safeguarding family health.


Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally as a decay product of uranium in the soil. It can enter homes through cracks in floors and walls, accumulating to levels that pose a risk of lung cancer. Testing for radon is an important preventive measure, as it is the only way to assess the risk and determine whether mitigation efforts, like radon remediation systems, are necessary to reduce radon levels effectively.

Educating ourselves about these key terms and concepts allows us to take active steps toward enhancing and protecting the air quality in our homes. Recognizing the impact of various factors on indoor environments is essential in making informed decisions aimed at promoting a healthier, more comfortable living space. Our professional team regularly assesses and upgrades systems to ensure optimal air quality and the health and comfort of all occupants.

Breathe Easier with Expert Air Quality Management

Understanding and managing indoor air quality is crucial for the health and comfort of everyone in your home. By familiarizing yourself with the key terms and conditions that affect air quality, you're taking an important step toward creating a safer and more comfortable indoor environment. Remember, proactive measures and regular maintenance of your air systems are essential to prevent and address air quality issues effectively.

If you're seeking to improve your home's air quality or need professional advice on how to maintain an optimal indoor environment, we're here to help. Contact us at S.O.S. Heating & Cooling today for comprehensive air quality assessment and expert HVAC services in Bountiful that are tailored to your needs. Let us assist you in ensuring that the air in your home is clean, safe, and refreshing.