By AJ Danboise
Poor Indoor Air Quality Can be Detrimental to Your Health
Moving into a new house or renovating your current home can be an exciting time for many families. It signifies the start of a new journey and carries the challenge of making a house feel like a home. Unpacking is stressful on its own; the last thing you want to worry about is quality of your indoor air. Having poor IAQ can sometimes be a silent reason as to why you’ve been plagued with frequent headaches or irritation to the throat, lungs and eyes. If you are moving into a house or renovating your current home, you may need to identify the quality of your home’s air.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous post about asthma triggers, indoor air is often two to five times, and in some cases 100 times, more polluted than outdoor air. Because so many of us spend most our days inside, whether it’s because of work or school, this should be especially disconcerting. Poor indoor air quality makes way for a host of health problems, all of which can be detrimental if left untreated. Even though we’re surrounded by air, it’s invisible to the eye; therefore, it’s important to know which signs are indicative of poor IAQ:
The health effects of poor indoor air quality can range from short-term to long-term. While it’s easy to downplay many of these symptoms, make note of how often they occur as well as where in your house they occur.
- Watery eyes
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs
- Asthma and other respiratory problems
- Lung cancer
Why is my indoor air unhealthy?
So, you’ve connected the dots and now believe that you’re dealing with poor indoor air quality. Let’s get to the root of the issue. If you’re wondering why the air in your home is unhealthy, we can help you out. The best thing you can do for your home – and for yourself – is to have a certified professional complete a thorough indoor air quality test. Using advanced technology, we can determine the underlying issue and then properly begin the remediation. The American Lung Association has provided a detailed list of common indoor air pollutants:
- Bacteria and viruses
- Building and paint products
- Carbon monoxide
- Newly installed carpets
- Cleaning supplies and other household chemicals
- Dust mites and dust
- Floods and water damage
- Mold and dampness
- Pet dander
- Wood burning
- Secondhand smoke
- Volatile organic compounds
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your HVAC air filter. It is important to change or check it at least every 30 days – especially if you have pets. Another way you can improve your IAQ is by scheduling annual maintenance for your heating and cooling system. Doing so will ensure proper ventilation and mitigate the presence of harmful contaminants.
Per the Environmental Protection Agency, there are three main strategies for improving your home’s IAQ: source control, improved ventilation and air cleaners. Here’s a look into the actions required of each strategy.
Source Control: To effectively treat the issue at hand, you will need to locate the source of the problem and either eliminate it or reduce it. For example, if you have a gas stove, the emissions can be adjusted.
Improved Ventilation: A cost efficient method for improving your home’s ventilation is allowing more outdoor air to makes its way indoors. You can do this by opening doors and windows, running the attic fan, or using kitchen and bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors. This is especially important to do if you’re completing home improvement projects such as painting or installing carpet.
Air Cleaners: In short, an air cleaner collects the polluted air and draws it through a filter where it is then cleaned and redistributed. There are numerous air cleaners on the market from which you can choose. Styles range from small table-top cleaners to whole-house systems. To determine the best system for your home, we recommend enlisting the help of a licensed professional first so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.