Factors That Contribute To Poor Indoor Air Quality
While there is no doubt that our home is usually one of the most comfortable places in the world, it’s also important to be mindful that indoor air quality can degrade, especially during the colder months.
Factors that contribute to poor indoor air could include:
During the colder months, humidity levels drop, which results in dry indoor air. Dry air, particularly when mixed with irritants like smoke, and dust can make indoor air even more aggravating.
Signs that you may have dry air in your home include dry skin, itchy eyes, irritated nasal passages, or a sore throat. Dry air may instigate symptoms in people with respiratory issues. Luckily, using a humidifier can help to add moisture to your home and contribute to higher humidity levels.
Strange Odors or Smells
If you notice an unpleasant or unrecognizable smell when you first turn your heater on, this initial scent of dust burning from the system should dissipate rather quickly. If, however, you notice a lingering smell, it is usually worth checking and changing your air filters first.
An old filter clogged with debris, dirt, and dust has a more difficult time exchanging the air it’s treating. Some odors help to identify potentially dangerous heating problems. Four distinct smells: rotten eggs, chemicals, smoke, or electrical burning; could signify more significant issues.
If you notice any of these scents in your home, shut off your heating unit, and contact an HVAC technician to have a better look into your system to discover what is going on.
Mold and damp environments in the home may instigate a myriad of health problems in individuals who are sensitive to these irritants. Symptoms could include coughing, wheezing, skin and eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, and other respiratory distress.
Mold remediation services can help to treat and remove affected areas from your home safely. Mold can form as a result of a leaky roof, leaky pipes, rising dampness in ground floors and basements, and rain penetrating through faulty eaves systems or poorly fitted windows.
Excessive dust in your home can cause respiratory issues in people with allergies or other sensitivities. If you notice rather excessive amounts of dust in your home, air duct cleaning can help to clear away the collection of dust and dirt that’s collected in your ductwork over the years.
Logic has it that the less dirt and grime you have blown around the heating ducts, the less of it is going to get circulated into your living areas. Another key to removing excessive dust and dirt from your home include sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and completing other general housekeeping habits. By eliminating this dust away from the surface, it can’t cause as much irritation.
Three metro areas in Texas are in “nonattainment” under the Clean Air Act. With a “nonattainment” rating, they don’t meet air quality standards set by Federal guidelines due to unacceptable pollution levels.
If you live somewhere where air pollution levels are already high, using an air purifier or ionizer helps to eliminate these airborne and microscopic irritants from your environment. Air duct cleaning may also help clear out pollutants and irritants lodged in your heating and cooling ductwork.
Condensation On Walls Or Windows
Condensation on walls and windows is an indicator of inadequate insulation in the home. Window condensation in the home interior is a result of excessive moisture inside the house, and it primarily happens in the winter. When the seal between the panes breaks, this causes condensation, which can lead to water damages, mold, and mildew, which contribute to poor air quality.
If you have persistent problems with condensation, it might be worth calling a home improvement professional to have them assess the problem, and propose a solution.
Steps You Can Take To Improve The Indoor Air Quality In Your Home
Luckily, even with all of these different factors that can contribute to poor air quality, there is any number of things you can do to improve the air in your living environment.
Cleaning Air Ducts
Ideally, the ducts in your home should get cleaned out every two to five years, or even more frequently, to remove dust, debris, and allergens from getting circulated within your home. A thorough duct cleaning removes fine, settled dust, pet dander, skin, loose hairs, and other items that enter the system for whatever reason – such as items getting dropped in floor vents.
Use An Air Purification System
No matter whether you invest in an entire home purification system, or just a portable air purification system, running these devices helps to remove negative ions, irritants, and other airborne contaminants. The use of a whole-home air purification system helps to decrease the likelihood of flu, colds, and other illnesses from spreading throughout your home. Portable air purification systems don’t offer complete coverage the same way that whole-home systems do, but they are adequate for improving air quality in individual rooms in your home. These units are ideal for use in nurseries, children’s bedrooms, and living areas. When used in the kitchen, they can help to eliminate odors from cooking and filter germs and contaminants that can result in sickness.
Follow HVAC Maintenance Schedule
Keeping your HVAC system running at optimal levels by following HVAC maintenance schedules. If you have a newer model, these routine checkups could have coverage in your installation or product warranty. By identifying small issues early on, you can get a reprieve for more costly and complicated repairs later. Typical tasks that regular maintenance all include checking filters, pulleys, and belts. Additionally, they will check the motor and all electrical connections to ensure everything is running optimally.
Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector
Elevated levels of carbon monoxide inside your home can pose a severe risk of death or sickness. This odorless gas is generated by HVAC systems when they are in a faulty state. A carbon monoxide detector measures the level of CO in your home at all times. When and if it picks up elevated carbon monoxide levels, it alerts you, so you can your family can evacuate the area immediately.
Use A Humidifier
You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of dry air. A humidifier is a lifesaver that helps to alleviate dry noses, throats, eyes, skin, and congestion that is common during the colder winter season. For babies and youngsters, a cool-mist humidifier helps to protect them against potential burns. Cool mist humidifiers help with congestion, coughs, bloody or cracked nasal passages, sore throats.
Houseplants are a natural air freshener! Add a bit of life or a splash of color to your living space with your favorite indoor foliage. If you have pets, including cats or dogs, be sure to choose houseplants that aren’t poisonous for your furry friends. Types of plants that are safe for cats include spider plants, Boston ferns, African violets, moth orchids, or fresh cat grass or catnip. Houseplants generate natural oxygen, which helps to boost the overall air quality in your home.
Let In Some Fresh Air
Dry, recirculated air can feel stagnant and oppressive. By opening up your window and allowing some fresh air inside—even on a cold day—you are enabling crisp air to reinvigorate the air quality in your home. Fresh air is almost always a good idea, especially if the inside air has you feeling down.
We hope you find these tips very helpful in your pursuit of better indoor air quality in your home.
Call Air Services Unlimited today to find out how we can help you with your indoor air quality. Contact us now.