On average, people spend 90 percent of their time indoors but don’t know that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outside air. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indoor air quality ranked as one of the top five environmental dangers to public health. It is linked to severe asthma and allergy development in children and to heart problems and lung cancer in children and adults.
What Are Some Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Symptoms of poor indoor air quality depend on the particular contaminant and are sometimes mistaken for allergies, stress, colds, or flu. Some of these associated symptoms are coughing, sneezing, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nose bleeds, sore throat, and upper respiratory congestion. Your air quality can also contribute to the development or the exacerbation of some more serious conditions including infections, lung diseases, asthma, and heart disease. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollutants can contribute to a host of short- and long-term effects. Because typical symptoms can be mistaken for allergies, an illness, stress, or many other causes, it’s easy to overlook indoor air quality as a main culprit.
What Are Some Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is affected by anything that releases gas or particles, which include combustion, personal-care products and activities, and even outdoor air quality. An early pioneer of indoor air quality, Dr. Marilyn Black found after years of research “poor indoor air quality was directly related to the 500 to 1,000 volatile organic compounds [VOCs] coming from everyday materials, such as paint, floorings, furnishings and printers.
Inadequate ventilation will trap contaminated air inside and can keep clean, fresh air from getting in. If you have unmaintained heating and air conditioning systems, your clogged air filters and dirty ducts will contribute to dust and mites in the air. Dampness in your house caused by floods, leaks, high humidity, or an unmaintained humidifier or dehumidifier can create mold and bacteria. Call Gateway Heating & Cooling for help in detecting the possible sources in your home.
You May Be Polluting Your Own Air!
Your own activities can contribute to the pollutants in the air. Cleaners and personal-care products are high culprits for this. Do not smoke inside. Cigarette smoke contains 7,000 chemicals and 69 poisons known to cause cancer. Children and elderly people are particularly sensitive to this, but it is unhealthy for everyone.
Burning of any kind of fuel releases particles into the air. Adequate ventilation is necessary to keep these contaminants under control.
The last thing to consider when looking at your own indoor air quality is the possibility of old or outdated building materials in your home. These poisonous building materials include asbestos and furniture made out of wood treated with formaldehyde.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Home's Air Quality?
Follow the recommendations below to help improve your home’s air quality:
- Ensure proper ventilation around fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, fireplaces, ranges, and heaters.
- Use proper ventilation when cleaning, painting, or using harsh chemical products in your home.
- Replace and maintain your home’s air filters at least once a season.
- Have your ductwork tested for leaks.
- Clean your humidifiers and dehumidifiers regularly.
- Keep your house clean by regularly vacuuming (use a HEPA vacuum cleaner), washing bedding, and leaving shoes at the door.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector, test for radon, and leave the asbestos to the professionals!
A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. Excess moisture can cause a number of seen and unseen issues in your home. Old and new houses alike go through phases of humidity levels for many different reasons.
Newer or remodeled homes have better insulation than ever before. While this cuts your energy costs overall, it also creates less air flow and therefore traps humidity. Older houses can have badly insulated pipes, windows, and cool surfaces which, when mixed with warm interior air, can create moisture. Your daily activities can contribute to the humidity level in your home as well.
Signs You May Need a Dehumidifier
- Condensation on your windows or doors - water beading or fog/vapor on the glass of your windows
- Mold spots on your ceiling or the corners of your walls
- Musty odor
- Spring water run-off
- Blistering paint or peeling wallpaper
- Creaky doors/windows/floors
A humidifier is a device that emits water vapor to increase the humidity in your home. Our experts can help you determine if your home or business needs a humidifier.
A humidifier is often used to battle the symptoms associated with cold weather. The dry air caused by cold weather can wreak havoc on your respiratory system as well as damage your wooden furniture, musical instruments and more. A humidifier combats all of these things by reintroducing the needed moisture into the air in your home.
- Relief for chest congestion
- Relief for sinusitis
- Helps prevent chapped skin
- Helps to remedy colds and allergies faster
- Can help prevent nosebleeds
- Can help prevent snoring
- Protect furniture
- Protect wooden instruments