People spend a lot of their time indoors, especially in the cold months of fall and winter. Many enjoy being cozy under blankets and with their heaters, but their home may not distribute the healthiest or cleanest air. Cold temperatures and frequently-used heating devices can bring out various allergens and irritants, and windows do not open until the warmer months, keeping stale and dirty air trapped inside.
Your indoor air quality depends on how safe and filtered the air is in your home, but poor air quality can lead to allergy flare-ups, health issues, and sneezing. Some of the worst indoor air quality measurements can cause severe respiratory illnesses or cancer, such as if there is black mold or asbestos. Every household should prioritize improving their home’s indoor air quality for everyone’s health and well-being.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants
You may have a variety of indoor air pollutants in your home and not even realize it, such as:
- Asbestos – You might find asbestos in older construction as a material in tiles, insulation, or cement. Asbestos is extremely harmful to breathe, sometimes leading to mesothelioma and other lung cancers, and symptoms may not show up for years after you are affected. You will need a professional asbestos removal team and cleanup crew to remove all traces and improve indoor air quality successfully.
- Scented Candles – While we love smelling the delicious scents of vanilla cupcakes or pine trees, your scented products could do more harm than good. Many of these products, such as diffusers and air freshers, contain harmful ingredients and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). You may breathe better by removing these artificial scents from your home.
- Chemicals/Cleaning Supplies – You might use these frequently and can’t just get rid of them. However, you can change the location of where you store them. Try putting your cleaning supplies or other harsh chemicals in the furthest spot away from the main living area, such as in the garage or storage room.
- Dirt – Dirt can enter your house in many ways, such as on your shoes, clothes, mail, pets, and more. Sweeping, vacuuming and mopping can help remove this air pollutant.
- Dust Mites – No matter how often you dust, it still appears everywhere in a neverending supply. Dust anywhere in your home can cause sneezing and decrease indoor air quality.
- Gas Leaks – Gases can derive from kitchen stoves, and some dangerous gases include carbon monoxide, radon, and VOCs. Even low levels of leaks will contribute to unhealthy indoor air quality. Some gases are odorless, making them harder to notice and address.
- Lead Particles – Older homes may contain lead particles or paint and require professional removal for your safety.
- Mold Spores – Mold from excess water can create poor indoor air quality.
- Pet Dander – It is challenging to avoid pet dander when you have a cat or dog, but managing the fur and dirt they have can help. During warmer weather, you can open doors and windows to draw out some of the old and dirty air. Vacuum often and clean any filters in your home to prevent pet dander from accumulating in large doses.
- Pollen – Pollen can enter your home in many ways, such as on your pet, shoes, or flying through the air. When learning how to improve indoor air quality, people with allergies need to take extra care in protecting themselves.
Scheduling professional indoor air quality testing from a trusted business can put into perspective your home’s air quality and purity. Attic Projects can determine which factor would increase poor indoor air quality. We’ll also find out how many of the above pollutants are in your space and harming your health.
Effects of Air Pollutants on Health
Some may think air pollutants are no big deal, but they can have damaging and deadly effects on people’s health. While there are no strictly-set indoor air quality standards, we associate them with the many recommendations from large organizations like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The groups and many contractors working with air filtration and HVAC systems know the dangerous effects of air pollutants and poor indoor air quality.
Most irritants like pollen, dirt, and dust don’t have a detectable scent, making them difficult for us to sense. It is easier for these particles to hide and cause sneezing, coughing, dry or sore throats, and other allergy symptoms. You simply are not breathing safe or clean air when they are present.
Physical signs of poor indoor air quality may include headaches, ear, throat, and nose irritation, frequent fatigue, and tiredness. Some harsher health problems air pollutants can cause are asthma attacks, digestive issues, respiratory diseases, or cancer.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
There are many ways for homeowners to improve their indoor air quality. Try the following tasks and note if your indoor air quality improves. The best place to start is to obtain professional indoor air quality testing from a local business — our team at Attic Projects.
- Use a High-Quality Air Filter and Replace it Routinely. Air filters effectively filter out many common air pollutants circulating through your property but will not effectively do so when clogged. Dirty and clogged filters can also damage your HVAC system.
- Purchase Air-Filtering Houseplants. One of the best indoor plants for air quality is the Chinese evergreen.
- Keep your Home Clean to Remove Harmful Indoor Air Pollutants. A clean home is happier, healthier, and safer because dirt, dust, and other allergens are not stagnant. You will breathe easier after cleaning rugs, carpets, blankets, bedding, and pillows.
- Consider Getting an Air Purifier. These handy devices are excellent for decreasing the number of allergens in your main living area. They work well alongside top-quality filters in your HVAC system, and a professional might install them into the existing ductwork.
- Open Windows Periodically Whenever Possible for Some Airflow. This technique works best during spring, summer, and the warmer days of fall. You can open doors and windows briefly and periodically in the winter for some movement.
- Adjust and Manage your Thermostat Effectively. Your thermostat can move stagnant air around when you aren’t using your heating or cooling. You can set your thermostat to turn on your fan at various intervals, such as every 30 minutes or each hour.
- Use Exhaust Fans for Short Periods. Turn on your bathroom fan after a shower to prevent mold growth and excess water. Gas and electric stoves release pollutants, so using your vents or opening doors and windows can send them out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Indoor Air Quality
What is Good Indoor Air Quality?
Good quality is when the air contains little to no pollutants and is free-flowing and circulating. VOC monitors take indoor air quality measurements that inform you of the level of volatile organic compounds in your home. An indoor air quality monitor is great for understanding a structure’s safety and whether people living or working in it may breathe polluted air.
Businesses and homeowners can use their indoor air quality measurements to develop effective solutions. One of the best indoor plants for air quality is pot mums because they filter benzene, so purchasing them is one way to help.
Can Poor Indoor Air Quality make you Sick?
Yes. Poor indoor air quality can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, cause respiratory issues, and even lead to disease and cancer. Purchasing an indoor air quality monitor will inform you of harmful levels of pollutants on your property. It can also specify which factor would increase poor indoor air quality, so you know which pollutant to tackle.
Is there a Test that can find an IAQ Problem?
There is not one specific test to detect an IAQ issue, but many homeowners use a top-rated indoor air quality monitor to test if their home is safe. One of the best indoor air quality solutions is to contact an air quality professional who can evaluate your situation. Their knowledge, equipment, and trustworthy team can determine how to remove pollutants and create a healthier, cleaner environment.
Work With Attic Projects and Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Attic Projects is the indoor air quality solution you’ve been looking for and offers free inspections with no obligation. We have high indoor air quality standards and will find the best ways to provide your home with the cleanest air. Some of our helpful services include asbestos removal, pest and rodent proofing and removal, mold remediation, and air duct cleaning.
We proudly provide our variety of attic, crawl space, and HVAC services to both residential and business clients. With over ten years of experience and many five-star reviews, you can count on our business.
Call us for a free quote today! You can also contact us via our online form. We look forward to helping you and improving the indoor air quality of your space.