Indoor air quality is important to every person in the United States. We have all heard the news on second hand smoke and carbon monoxide. But there are many things that can contribute to poor air quality. Most people will spend a significant amount of time indoors, either in their home or office. Pollutants in the air can cause headaches, eye irritations, allergies and asthma or fatigue. Long-term effects include heart disease and cancer. It is unclear how much exposure to air pollutants will cause a problem and what long-term effects might occur.
Common Indoor Sources of Air Pollutants Include:
-Broken Compact Fluorescent light bulbs
-Glues and Adhesives
-Paints and Strippers
-Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces and Chimneys
-Pressed Wood products, Paneling, Particle Board
The EPA has a complete list of indoor air pollutants and what to do about them. Go to the publication : inside story
Poor air quality occurs when there isn’t a good exchange between indoor air and outdoor air or fresh air. Indoor air is ventilated naturally through cracks around the doors and windows in your home and through vents that transfer good air in and bad air out. As most homeowners are good about sealing cracks that air could get in and out of, a ventilation system is often necessary to get rid of the stale air.
Determining If You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality
Testing is a good way to determine if your home has radon. There are also carbon monoxide testers too. You can use your symptoms to determine if you have good indoor air quality. This is especially true if you have recently moved into a new home. This isn’t always the best way to tell because the symptoms could mimic a virus or other ailment. You may also notice these signs that can indicate your home may not have enough ventilation which include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air cooling equipment, and areas where books, shoes, or other items become moldy To detect odors in your home, step outside for a few minutes, and then upon reentering your home, note whether odors are noticeable.
What You Can Do About Poor Indoor Air Quality
The best way to eliminate bad indoor air quality is to remove the source of the problem. This might include sources of allergens and pollutants. You can also make sure to open windows and doors when you can and to run existing ventilators when you are doing things in the kitchen, painting or using the bathroom. Air purifiers can help but most that are sold don’t do the trick. Advanced designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers). If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to improve the air quality of your home or office, contact Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning and they will be happy to help you.