How Can I Improve Indoor Air Quality?

a clean filter

The Quality of Your Home’s Air

When we speak of Indoor Air Quality, we are speaking about the air we breathe in and around buildings, including our homes. This is especially relating to the comfort and health of those who occupy the buildings and especially the indoor air quality in homes. By having a thorough understanding of what is air quality, what the common pollutants are that can cause health concerns, and how we can better control those pollutants, the better we will be able to breathe.

The Immediate Effects

There are several factors involved in what immediate effects and reactions to indoor air pollutants will be, which are:  

  • A person’s age
  • Preexisting medical conditions
  • Individual sensitivity

The Long-Term Effects

After one has been exposed to air pollutants, other health effects and reactions may appear. Among those things are:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

The immediate effects can turn into long-term effects, which can become severely debilitating, even fatal. This why it is judicious that we make every effort possible to improve our indoor air quality at home and in public places, even if there is no indication of symptoms by anyone currently.

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Several factors that make Indoor air quality good, such as a comfortable temperature, adequate fresh outdoor air, humidity, and controlling pollutants from inside as well as outside. When it comes to the most common causes and problems for indoor air quality, they typically are:

  • Poor ventilation with little fresh outdoor air or contaminated outdoor air
  • Poor maintenance and upkeep of ventilation, i.e. HVAC system
  • Dampness and moisture from flooding, leaks, or high humidity

Other things that can affect indoor air quality are the activities such as construction and remodeling, or if the air, inside or outside, has been contaminated.

Can Bad Air Quality Cause Dizziness?

When the indoor air quality is at a poor level, the occupants may suffer from dizziness among other things such as dry throat, eye irritation, fatigue, headaches, sinus congestion, and nausea. But these symptoms can often be part of other illnesses, making diagnosing the problem to be the home rather than the person.  Other issues that can create poor indoor air quality are high levels of certain contaminants, like carbon monoxide. This can cause serious illnesses and even lead to death if not resolved.

Can a Dusty Room Make You Sick?

On average, a home will collect as much as 40 pounds of dust annually. And within that dust are microscopic bugs, commonly called dust mites, multiplying fast that are making you and everyone in your homesick. If there is a predator in your home to fear, dust mites should be the one. Also, in that 40 pounds of dust are over 40 toxic chemicals that have been linked to not only respiratory issues but behavioral and neuro-development complications as well.

Home health experts have recommended the following to be the biggest dust mite collectors in a home and offer solutions on how to purge them and improve the indoor air quality.

  • Toys: As a parent, this will probably concern you the most. Your children’s toys are where dust mites can thrive. The best solution to get rid of the dust mites, short of tossing every toy in the trash, is to place them in the freezer for 1 full day.
  • Your bed: This should be of great concern because you’re sleeping with them every night. Dust mites love mattresses and pillows making this a prevalent area for them. Purchase an allergen barrier cover for both the mattress and pillows will eliminate them because they won’t have a place to thrive.
  • Air vents: Any home with a central HVAC system will have dust build-up in the vents. An easy fix is to vacuum the vents along with your routine cleaning will get rid of the dust, taking away a place for dust mites to thrive. It will also keep the air quality in your home clean.

 Additionally, purchase an air purifier at any big box store. This will capture allergens and dust that are floating around and lowering your home’s indoor air quality. This will make the air healthier to breathe and help you sleep too.

Can Air Quality Monitors Detect Mold?

The culprit for poor indoor air quality could be excessive dust, high humidity, mold, or even household cleaners or building materials. Most homeowners do not realize they have any problem until somebody in the house is diagnosed with a breathing problem or other dramatic health issues.

Not only is it important to have good indoor air quality, but it is as important to monitor it as well. With modern technology that we have today, air quality monitors have evolved greatly and are readily available for everyone. Not only do they monitor the quality of the air, but they also detect mold spores. From there, you know you need to find the source of that mold and take care of the matter to stop it.

How Can I Check the Air Quality in my House?

When it comes to the safety of our homes, too often we overlook the indoor air quality, until there is a health crisis among the occupants. Every day, there are harmful chemicals, toxic agents, and more spreading throughout the air inside our homes, and if they haven’t already, they will impact the health of somebody eventually.

Fortunately, there are several at-home test kits available at most big box home improvement stores, or you can have a professional check the air quality of your home. An air quality monitor purchased at a big box store will effectively detect the air quality inside your home, including the PM2.5 levels and the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), as well as the humidity and temperature.

Things you can do on your own to help the air quality in your home would be to remove any signs or symptoms of mold, which can be detected simply by burning eyes and must odor. You can also install carbon monoxide detectors which will detect the colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that comes from appliances like your cookstove, furnace, grill, water heater, etc. and check for radon as well, the radioactive gas that is a natural occurrence from uranium breaking down in the soil.

An air purifier will improve the air quality, a great addition for any home with occupants that have allergies.  And stay on top of replacing the air filters every 30 days. This not only helps the air you breathe in but also helps with the energy bills.

Indoor air quality has never been a bigger concern than it is today, with the increase of outdoor air pollutants coming inside our homes and businesses. This should be a top concern for any homeowner, even if there isn’t anyone suffering from breathing issues or other health issues. Monitoring your home’s air quality now before anyone is diagnosed, may prevent the problems from ever occurring. Stewart's Heating and Cooling provides quality heating and air conditioning service in Eagle Mountain, UT. Call 801-373-2915 today.