Why You Should Worry About Indoor Air Quality
As the winter months arrive, cool outdoor air often drives people inside their warm homes. Many people agree –– there’s not much better than relaxing indoors under a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day!
However, gathering together in the warm indoors can have adverse health effects if the air in your home is of poor quality. Indoor air quality (IAQ) can be compromised of factors including hazardous chemicals, concentrated pollutants, high levels of carbon monoxide, or a dusty indoor environment.If you’ve had any discomfort in your eyes, nose, or ears lately, or if you’ve been having trouble breathing, it may be time to inspect your home for possible sources of air contamination. Luckily, it’s easy to improve indoor air quality and long-term health with a few best practices!
Common Sources of Air Quality Problems – and How to Fix Them
Poor indoor air quality can trigger allergic reactions, cause respiratory diseases like lung cancer, spread respiratory infections like COVID-19, and distribute the spores of dangerous mold and other fungi.
One of the leading sources of poor indoor air quality is airflow blockages in the home, such as blocked chimneys and vents, clogged air filters, collapsed air ducts, and more. Airflow blockages can result from weather damage, wildlife incursion, infrequent cleaning, or something as simple as placing furniture in front of an air intake.
The best way to prevent airflow blockages is regular inspection and preventative maintenance. Change the air filters for your HVAC units every 30-90 days, and make sure to schedule annual inspections and maintenance for your chimney, vents, and air ducts.
Tobacco Smoke in the Area
Using tobacco products indoors –– or near entrances, such as on screened patios or near windows –– can contribute to the buildup of secondhand smoke in the home. Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to young children and pets. If it isn’t cleared from the air, it can leave behind harmful chemical residue on surfaces within the home, which can contribute to poor indoor air quality in the long term.
The best way to prevent air contamination due to tobacco smoke is by avoiding tobacco use in and around the home. If you or other building occupants plan to use tobacco products regularly, it may be wise to set up an outdoor smoking area at least 20 feet away from openings leading to the home, including windows, vents, and doors.
Toxic Cleaning Supplies or Building Materials
Many homes (especially older ones) were built with toxic materials like asbestos, which can cause lung cancer and other major respiratory diseases over time. Additionally, many common household cleaning supplies are hazardous if inhaled. Regular use of strong chemicals in a home with poor ventilation can contaminate indoor air.
The best way to prevent air contamination due to chemicals from cleaning supplies and building materials is to maintain proper ventilation for your home and, if possible, to replace dangerous building materials and cleaning supplies with safer and healthier alternatives.
When certain areas of the home are subject to excess moisture and poor ventilation, the results can include deadly mildew and mold. Window air conditioners, air humidifiers, leaky pipes or drains, roof leaks, and poor air circulation can contribute to excess moisture buildup. In the long term, this moisture can allow black mold and other dangerous fungi to contaminate the indoor air in your home with harmful fumes and spores.
To prevent excess moisture buildup in your home, schedule regular inspections of your attic, exterior, and plumbing. Also, if you live in a humid climate, encourage better air circulation in your home by using a central HVAC system, installing indoor fans, or periodically airing out your home.
If your home is subject to frequent drafts due to gaps around windows and doors, you could unknowingly be allowing high levels of outdoor air pollution to contaminate the air in your home. Some examples of poor weatherproofing include sealant gaps around windows and doors, water-damaged building materials due to leaks, and old entry points from previous pest incursions.If your home isn’t adequately sealed against outdoor air pollution, hazardous compounds like radon gas, aerosol pesticides, carbon monoxide, black soot, and smog can make their way inside your home. That’s why it's wise to inspect your home’s exterior on an annual basis for signs of wear or damage. Schedule frequent preventative maintenance to secure building occupants’ long-term health and safety.
Protect Your Loved Ones by Improving Your Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can cause long-term negative health effects in all building occupants, including adults, children, and pets. The best way to improve indoor air quality is by conducting regular inspections with air quality test kits, scheduling regular home maintenance, and using air cleaners to purify the air in your home.
Maintain a healthy home and business with expert air quality services from AdvantaClean, including water damage cleanup, mold removal, HVAC maintenance, air sanitization, moisture control, and more!