When you think about air pollution, you might think about big city smog. But, the truth is that your indoor air can be contaminated too and this can cause you greater health risks. The air in most homes can be up to 5 times more contaminated than the air outside. Since a lot of us spend up to 90% of their time inside, it is very important to take the proper steps to tackle this problem instead of dealing with the harmful effects of poor indoor air quality.
Impact of Indoor Air Quality
Outdoor pollutants like fossil fuel fumes, pesticides and radon can make their way into your home and the air you breathe. There are also many other sources of gases and particles that are inside your home that can reduce the air quality too. They include:
– Inadequately maintained fuel burning appliances and heating items that can release poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
– A mixture of construction materials, paint and carpet that can give off dangerous and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
– Pet dander and dust mites that can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.
– Commonly used household products and personal care goods that can contain any number of unwanted chemicals.
– Lead paint dust and asbestos particles from construction materials in pre-1986 homes.
– Second hand smoke from tobacco products.
– Molds and mildew from warm and humid conditions.
Health Problems From Poor Indoor Air Quality
When you find that you are dealing with the harmful effects of poor indoor air quality, you and your family can experience a list of possible health problems:
– Congestion and coughing.
– Sore throats.
– Itchy watery eyes.
– Tightness in the chest.
– Shortness of breath.
– Asthma attacks.
– Respiratory infections
– Headaches, fatigue and nausea.
The elderly and young children and those with some medical conditions are more susceptible to the effects of poor indoor air quality. Therefore, they are at greater danger of developing these symptoms and illnesses.
Addressing Poor Indoor Air Quality
Now that you fully recognize the negative effects of poor indoor air pollution, there are many steps you can take to fix the situation so you and your family can breathe easier.
– Increase ventilation. Have a whole house ventilation system installed in the ductwork to help exchange stale and contaminate-laden indoor air for fresher air 24 hours a day. If a whole home ventilation system is not in your budget, try installing trickle ventilation screens to help the air move naturally. This works great when your home is closed up during the cold winter months.
– Maintain fuel burning equipment. Having an annual HVAC technician check your system to make sure it is working properly can help to eliminate the possibility of poor indoor air quality. Gas fired stoves and water heaters plus fireplaces and space heaters should be inspected and serviced regularly as well. A bonus of regular maintenance is the potential for lower energy costs and longer life span of your appliances.
– Keep humidity in check. Mold and mildew will thrive in warm and humid indoor air. A tightly sealed home and high humidity and condensation problems is usually caused by respiration, cooking and bathing. In winter, adequate ventilation and exhaust fans can remove excessive moisture from your home.
– Reduce airborne gases and particles. If you own a pre-1986 home that contains asbestos products or lead based paint, you should have those items professionally sealed or replaced. Use green cleaning and personal care products to help reduce the amount of VOCs that are released into the air. Store any VOC containing products in a well ventilated location and buy limited quantities to avoid long exposure to these chemicals.
– Control allergens. If anyone in your home has allergies, pet dander and dust mites can trigger attacks. Remember to bath your pets regularly and do not let them sleep in your bedrooms. Keep high humidity under control to help reduce the amount of dust mites. Vacuum and wet dust frequently, use dust proof pillows and mattress pads and launder bedding at least once a week.
– Use HEPA filters. Install a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your HVAC system to reduce the level of particles that are circulated by the blower. Do not forget to check and replace the air filters as recommended.
If you need some advice about dealing with poor indoor air quality in your home, please contact the professionals at Heating Cooling Chapel Hill.
To see what Rheem has to offer to improve your indoor air quality, visit Rheem Indoor Air Quality Products.