When we think about air pollution, most often outdoor air quality comes to mind. However, Americans spend around 90% of their time indoors. This means the quality of the air inside our homes, offices, and schools impacts us more than the outdoor air quality. Know what contributes to indoor air quality and how to improve the air we breathe most often.
Many factors contribute to indoor air quality, including your HVAC system. Here at J&W Heating and Air, we want our clients to understand the risks of poor indoor air quality and help find solutions to clean up the air in your home.
5 Facts Everyone Needs to Know About Indoor Air Quality:
Indoor Air Quality is Worse Than Outdoor
We spend most of our time inside sleeping, relaxing, attending school, or working. Unfortunately, indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air quality. According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants are two to five times higher than outdoor air pollutant concentration levels. In fact, the EPA ranks indoor air pollution as a Top 5 Environmental Danger.
Most of us can’t change the amount of time we spend inside; therefore, we must integrate solutions into our indoor environments to identify and improve the contributors to poor indoor air quality. Houseplants have been found to absorb toxins from the air helping to create cleaner air in the home. This and other solutions are available to improve indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Pollution Leads to Negative Health Effects
Oftentimes, people don’t realize the negative health issues they’re dealing with are tied to poor indoor air quality. Short-term issues like watery eyes, throat irritation, dizziness, or headache can be attributed to poor air quality and often go away when the person is no longer in that environment.
Unfortunately, poor air quality also causes long-term health problems that may not be detected for several years like respiratory disease, heart disease, or cancer. This means you shouldn’t wait until you experience a problem to deal with low air quality in your home. Start now to prevent future health issues.
Levels of Indoor Pollutants Have Increased in Recent Years
In recent years, the level of indoor pollutants has increased. The EPA suggests this is due to new products entering homes like energy-efficient construction that lack necessary ventilation. While the temperature inside remains more stable, the air does not filter as well.
Other factors impacting the recently increased levels of indoor pollutants are the vast number of products made with synthetic materials and chemicals entering our homes, offices, and schools. While these products do add benefits to consumers, they often have the downside of polluting the air.
Indoor Air Pollution Isn’t Usually Obvious
Unless you’re using a product with strong fumes, indoor air pollution isn’t usually obvious. While products like paints, cleaners, and gasoline have a strong smell to indicate the product could be an irritant, other dangerous substances may have no odor. This means your family could be at risk for the negative effects without you knowing.
In fact, one in 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated odorless radon levels. Radon derives from the breakdown of uranium in the soil that then enters the air we breathe. Breathing radon causes lung cancer and is now considered the second largest contributor to lung cancer.
Common Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Many factors contribute to poor indoor air quality. As mentioned above, radon from the ground leads to long-term life-threatening health effects. Also, the build-up of mold, dust, and bacteria around your home and in the ventilation system negatively impacts air quality.
Other common items we bring into our homes also cause air pollution inside our homes. These include:
- Smoke from tobacco, fireplaces, or kerosene heaters
- Building materials like carpets, cabinets, and pressed wood
- Chemicals in the form of cleaning supplies, glue, beauty products, candles, and home office products
- Pet dander
Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for poor indoor air quality. From simple, inexpensive solutions to costlier home maintenance, tackle air quality with these helpful suggestions.
- Dust regularly to remove dander and dirt from surfaces
- Schedule regular HVAC maintenance
- Remove chemical contaminants and replace them with healthier options
- Install better ventilation systems
- Clean or replace your home air filter
- Open windows and doors to allow fresh air inside
- Install a radon mitigation system
Schedule HVAC Maintenance
Clean up the air in your home! Start by scheduling HVAC maintenance and duct cleaning. Duct cleaning helps to remove pet dander, dust, mold, bacteria, and other irritants from your home’s duct system. One study found that HVAC duct cleaning helps to improve indoor air quality by lowering the number of unwanted particles in the air. When your duct system is clean, the air coming through your vents is cleaner leading to cleaner overall air throughout your home.
Contact the experts at J&W Heating and Air to schedule your HVAC maintenance. We offer two convenient preventive maintenance plans to help you stay on top of your HVAC maintenance. Sign up today and start breathing easier.