Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is defined as the air quality in and around buildings where humans reside or inhabit. Understanding how to maintain healthy indoor air quality can help home and business owners mitigate the serious risk factors associated with exposure to indoor pollutants and harmful gases.
Indoor air quality gains more attention during the last months of the year because many of us begin spending more time indoors. The winter months also coincide with the cold and flu season. Upper respiratory conditions and illnesses like the flu and colds are worsened by poor indoor air quality. As the cold weather sends more people to hide inside, we all must become more proactive about protecting the IAQ of our homes and businesses.
How to Improve the IAQ of Your Home or Business
Poor air quality has been linked to respiratory illness and discomfort within your home, and these indoor air quality problems can be traced back to pollutants, particles, and gases that make their way into your home's ductwork. A standard HVAC filter cannot trap many of these odors, gases, and particles, so they are spread throughout your house unregulated.
Mold, allergens, viruses, and dust can wreak havoc on the breathability of the air inside your home. These known irritants also negatively impact your indoor air quality. If you are in good health, breathing in polluted air long-term can negatively impact your health, and if you are unwell, it can stall your improvement.
6 Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
- Consider removing houseplants – While houseplants are touted as a source of oxygen, they can also present as an allergy sensitivity. Plants can trigger respiratory inflammation for many people. So, while they could produce minor improvements, they are potentially more harmful than helpful.
- Regularly change filters – Regularly changing the filters in your home is a proactive step toward improving your home's air quality. Many homeowners are not as timely in their filter replacement and cleaning as they should be. As such, dirty filters do very little to prevent dust, particles, and viruses from being easily transported through your ductwork to every room of your home.
- Add air Purifiers – Adding an air purifier to your home can clean the air and prevent a decline in your home's air quality. You can choose to invest in a standalone air purifier or an in-duct system that works behind the scenes. Regardless of which method you choose, an air purifier is a smart and effective way to protect the IAQ of your home.
- Add a dehumidifier – If your home has damp areas, like in the basement, you can add a dehumidifier to stave off the growth of mold and mildew. Fungus spores in the air pose a serious threat to the IAQ in your home.
- Facilitate natural ventilation – It's a good idea to allow fresh air into your home from time to time. The air within your home can become stuffy and stale, and if there are indoor pollutants in your home, they can be swept out with a nice fresh breeze from outdoors.
- Schedule routine maintenance – Harmful gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are the byproduct of faulty heating appliances and fire sources. Faulty or worn heaters can leak carbon monoxide, which can be toxic to humans in large doses. Regular maintenance of your heating appliances and fixtures can ensure your systems are in good working order and free from leaks and failing pipes and wires.
The Risk of Ignoring Indoor Air Quality
Ignoring poor indoor air quality can result in both short- and long-term effects. Your health can be negatively impacted by even short exposure to some of the more harmful indoor pollutants. From eye irritation to headaches and dizziness, you can experience some frightening immediate health effects from limited exposure to known allergens, particles, and hazardous gases. Treatment for exposure can be as simple as leaving the polluted space or eliminating the aggravating agent. Immediate effects from exposure to poor indoor air quality can even lead to respiratory illnesses like asthma.
There are many causes of poor indoor air pollution:
- Fire-producing or combustion heating sources
- Tobacco smoke
- Harsh chemical cleaning agents
- Harmful gases
- Outdoor pollutants like smog
Some effects of breathing polluted air long-term can show up later down the road. Serious illnesses like respiratory, heart, and lung disease are all possible outcomes of long-term exposure to polluted air inside your home. These serious illnesses are a stark reminder of why you should never ignore these harmful indoor air pollutants.
If indoor air quality is a concern in your home or office, contact the team at Dependable Services. We can be reached at (843) 627-2337 to schedule an inspection or for more information about the award-winning line of in-duct air purification products we have available for installation.