Americans spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors. Many of us probably think this is the safest place for us, away from smog and exhaust fumes. However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air often has two to five times the pollutants you’ll find outdoors. If you notice these problems, your indoor air quality may be poor.
You’re Always Feeling Sick
Image via Flickr by hermzz
If you find yourself sneezing, coughing, and generally feeling unwell, you might blame a cold coming on or your allergies. However, poor indoor air also causes these common health complaints as well as irritated sinuses, sore throats, nausea, and headaches. In many cases, the symptoms will subside if you improve the air in your home. Rather than seeing a doctor when these symptoms flare, consider talking to an HVAC expert about your home’s air quality.
Your House Feels Humid
A humid house often has poor indoor air quality. A humid environment provides the perfect place for bacteria, viruses, mold, dust, and other allergens to thrive and grow. High humidity can also increase the levels of nasty chemicals, including formaldehyde and ozone, in the air. Reduce the humidity and you’re likely to improve your air quality.
You Can See Mold
Spotting mold in common places like your shower stall, around your air conditioner or fridge, or under your sink is a common sign of poor indoor air quality. Mold makes microscopic airborne particles that can contain allergens, inflammatory chemicals, and volatile organic compounds. These contaminants reduce the quality of air in the home. Get a professional to eliminate the mold, and you’re bound to breathe easier.
Your House Smells
A smelly house is embarrassing, but don’t just mask the odors with air fresheners. Instead, consider whether poor air quality could be the culprit. Mold, even if you can’t see it, dirty air filters, and dirty air ducts can create bad smells and reduce air quality in your home. Getting professionals to remove the mold or clean your HVAC system can correct the problem.
Your Home Is Dusty
Dust on your furniture is unsightly, but it’s also a major contributor to poor indoor air quality. They’re too tiny for you to see, but dust mites feed on the dust in your home. Dust mites reproduce, especially in humid conditions, and create waste. Dust, dust mites, and their waste products are easily disturbed as you move about your home. When they are, they become airborne and your indoor air quality decreases.
Dusting your home, washing bedding, and vacuuming soft furnishings at least once a week is a good way to remove dust and improve air quality. Changing your HVAC filter every month will ensure it can effectively remove the dust.
Once you know you have poor indoor air quality, you can do something about it. Along with the tips above, you could consider purchasing an air purifier to kill contaminants or an air cleaner to trap them. Whole-house ventilation systems, which remove pollutants from the home and let fresh, clean air in, can also improve the air in your home.