How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Health
With all of the planes, trains, and automobiles, you’d think that the worst of the air pollution is outside and that the indoor air of your home is safer to breath, but that’s not necessarily true.
According to the World Health Organization, 4.3 million people a year die from household air pollution exposure, and it is ranked as one of the most important environmental problems in the United States. Now is a time to understand the importance of indoor air quality in your home.
While an air-tight home is effective at keeping bugs and other natural elements out, it also traps any airborne particles that have been let in. There are many contaminants in the air, and sometimes filters are not as effective as they could be by allowing the smallest particles through.
FILTER QUALITY MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Common air filters are standard for the HVAC system and not equipped to filter out smaller contaminants, like bacteria or mold spores, but HEPA filters can help remove smoke, pollen, pet dander and dust, in addition to the smaller microorganisms.
Using these filters in conjunction with UVC Technology (Ultra Violet with a “C” band for effectiveness against germs) is a good choice to keep your indoor air quality as healthy as possible.
Unfortunately, some common symptoms of indoor air pollution are so broad that many other illnesses have the same reactions, but if you notice that you are having allergy or cold-like symptoms, mostly while you are home, it’s a sure sign you should get your indoor air quality checked.
Poor indoor air quality can have minor irritating traits such as watery eyes or dizziness with no explanation, but there are also larger ramifications for breathing contaminated air, such as respiratory disease, whose symptoms include an irritated, runny, or bleeding nose, difficulty breathing and having a sore throat, or wheezing.
With poor indoor air quality creating an environment of declining health, it is often contributed to creating a reduced ability to concentrate, a general feeling of illness, and a decrease in cognitive ability– making the subject of indoor air quality more than just an air quality issue but a real threat to your health in general.
COMMON CAUSES AND EFFECTS
While the list is endless, and some of the reactions are a bit severe, here are a few of the most frequent culprits that are robbing us of good air quality and health:
- Asbestos — Present in various building materials, including ceiling and floor tile. Can present health issues such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
- Formaldehyde – Banned in the United States but still found in sealants and wood floors. Can present irritation of all membranes and include allergic reactions.
- Radon – Found in bedrock and soil, usually underneath the house, and seeps into walls and floors.
- Lead – Was popular in paints and pottery and can be found in dust and soil. Can cause brain and nerve damage and kidney failure.
- Carbon Monoxide – Some sources are gas stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers and motor vehicles, which could result in immediate death.
STEPS TO TAKE FOR CLEANER AIR
Simple actions, such as cooking, smoking, using your fireplace or wood stove, painting a cabinet or even using a space heater can contribute to the contaminates in the air in your home. Chemicals used to clean your home should be monitored for safety, and be aware of something even as simple as too much or not enough moisture in the air. You can do the following to help have better quality indoor air.
- Vacuum carpets frequently to remove allergens
- Never run vehicles, lawnmowers or any other combustibles in the garage or a confined space.
- Properly ventilate your house, especially rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, to prevent moisture build up and mold
- Adopt a smoke-free home
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries twice a year.
HOME REPAIRS AND REMODELING
During home repairs or innovation, the indoor air quality can prove to be a health risk, with chemicals, particles, and pollutants that are created, or made worse than before. Protecting air quality doesn’t have to be chore. Just be sure to have the proper professionals are there to monitor and find solutions to your situation.
TEAMWORK AND COMMITTMENT
With so many things that contribute to unhealthy indoor air, having your air quality monitored and maintained can not only improve the quality of the air you and your family breathe, but it can also improve your overall health. Walk around to find any hot or cold spots that may indicate an airflow issue. Check humidity levels and adjust based on if the air is muggy or dry.
Then, when it’s time to make the call for professional help, give Mason Mechanical a call at 602-680-5086. We can inspect your home, discover your poor quality indoor air, and recommend a path to get improved air quality in your home. Meet our team online, or schedule a service request and browse our site to find out more about what we have to offer.