Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?
Many of us tend to think air pollution is only found outdoors. In fact, the air inside our homes can be as much as 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Although many people recognize the hazards posed by outdoor air pollution, there tends to be less concern over the health hazards caused by indoor air pollution—even though it often has the same effects.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air in and around buildings—specifically as it relates to human health and comfort. The primary sources of indoor air pollution are items in the home that release particles or gases into the environment. If there’s not enough ventilation to disperse these pollutants, they can build up and become concentrated in the home. High temperatures and humidity levels can also increase the concentration of some pollutants.
Some of the most common sources of poor indoor air quality include:
- Gas appliances
- Tobacco products
- Building materials and furnishings, such as asbestos-based insulation, carpet, pressed-wood cabinetry, and upholstery
- Household cleaning products
- Personal care products
- Products used for hobbies, such as paint or glue
- Excess moisture
- Outdoor sources, such as pesticides
- Dirty or poorly maintained furnaces or air conditioners
- Pet dander
How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Health?
Indoor air pollutants may cause health issues shortly after exposure or years later. Immediate effects tend to be short-term and go away after treatment. Some immediate effects include:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
Everyone’s reaction to indoor pollutants can vary depending on age, preexisting medical conditions, and individual sensitivity. Long-term health effects may show up years after exposure or after prolonged exposure to indoor air pollutants, including:
- Respiratory conditions
- Heart disease
Even if there are no noticeable symptoms, it’s still recommended to take steps to improve indoor air quality to prevent potential long-term effects.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate allergens and pollutants from your home, there are several simple changes you can make to reduce them and your exposure.
- Clean your home regularly to reduce dust, dust mites, animal dander, and mold. Vacuum the carpets and rugs at least once or twice a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Clean up areas of clutter and wash bedding, drapes, and other items that attract tend to attract allergens.
- Use sterile soil for indoor plants and only water them when the soil is dry to prevent mold growth.
- If you have a forced air heating system, change the filters regularly and have the ducts cleaned periodically to remove trapped dust.
- Invest in an air purifier to help capture indoor irritants.
- Consider using a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home to prevent mold growth.
- Open your windows from time to time to allow fresh air to circulate.
- Use fans while cooking to remove fumes from the kitchen.
For the Best Air Quality Solutions, Contact PECO
Whether you need your HVAC filters replaced or would like to install an air purification system, PECO Heating & Cooling offers a number of air quality solutions to help you breathe easier. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 to discuss your needs.