Indoor Air Quality Basics for Homeowners

Indoor Air Quality Basics 

Indoor air quality should be a major concern for all homeowners for a diverse number of reasons. The chief of which is health. But what exactly is indoor air quality? Here are some indoor air quality basics for homeowners.

Indoor air quality or IAQ refers to the quality of the air inside the home as well as the surrounding areas in relation to both the comfort and health of your family. When we as homeowners understand the impact of pollutants on our air quality, we can substantially reduce the health risks involved.

The health effects of poor IAQ can be experienced over the short term, although there are some health issues that come as a result of prolonged exposure. Symptoms like constant itchy eyes and throat, runny nose, headaches, fatigue and dizziness are among the short-term effects of poor IAQ. Most of these can be managed, often through the removal of the source of indoor pollution. Other conditions like asthma have a tendency to flare up or worsen when a person is exposed to indoor pollutants.

Some effects of indoor pollution are similar to other diseases, which can make it difficult to determine whether the underlying cause is a virus or poor IAQ. One way to determine the underlying cause is to observe whether the affected person’s condition improves when he moves to another area.

Other effects of poor IAQ take years of repeated exposure before they crop up. These include heart disease, some forms of cancer, and respiratory illnesses.

What causes poor indoor air quality?

There are several causes of poor IAQ which come in the form of particles and gases. Inadequate ventilation can also contribute to the problem when there is not enough outdoor air coming into the building. Outdoor air is crucial in diluting emissions from indoor air pollutants and helps carry these pollutants away from the home. Humidity and temperature can also affect the impact of some types of pollutants.

What are the most common sources of indoor pollutants?

These include tobacco products, appliances which burn fuel, furniture made out of some pressed wood products, new floorings and carpets, deteriorated asbestos, some types of household and personal care products, excess moisture, HVAC systems, and outdoor sources like outdoor air pollution.

How can you improve IAQ in your home?

There are three strategies that you can use. First, you have to identify the source and make the necessary adjustments. For example, if the source of the indoor air pollution can be traced to appliances like gas stoves, do your best to decrease the emissions from these.

The next strategy that you can use is improving the ventilation by allowing more indoor air to come indoors. It can be as simple as opening windows and doors or using fans in the kitchen and the bathroom. When remodeling your home, consider designs that facilitate the entry of more outdoor air inside your home.
Finally, you can utilize air cleaners or air scrubbers which can remove unwanted air particles. In choosing an air cleaner, there are a few critical factors to look at. These include percentage efficiency rates, filtering element, as well as the strength of the source of pollution. Apart from using these appliances, you might also want to consider using indoor plants. Be sure to ask your trusted HVAC technician about the best one to choose.

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