The air quality inside of a home affects many parts of life including health. Poor indoor air quality can make a home less comfortable. It could also cause or inflame medical problems. Homeowners will want to understand some of the most common factors that affect indoor air quality.
Mold is one of the main factors affecting indoor air quality. Mold can grow quickly inside of walls, under counters and along baseboards. The main threat from mold is the release of spores into the air. The spores can cause coughing or other respiratory problems over time. Some molds in the home contain mycotoxins that can harm children, adults and pets. Homeowners dealing with mold should install an air filter to keep concentrations low. Serious mold problems will require professional abatement.
Heating and Cooling Systems
The heating and cooling system in a home can dramatically affect the quality of the air in each room. These systems require regular cleaning and maintenance at least once a year. Allergens and other debris can settle inside of the unit, inside of the ductwork and on the fans. This causes dust and allergens to be blown through the house whenever the system is activated. The result is difficulty breathing and potentially allergic reactions if mold has formed. Homeowners should have heating and cooling systems cleaned and serviced one to two times a year.
Household Cleaning Products
Certain household cleaning products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air when used. These VOCs can stay in the air for a long time. VOCs can cause a range of problems from respiratory issues to skin and eye irritation. This is especially true when the cleaning product is used in a small space like a bathroom or closet. Homeowners will want to choose green cleaning products or products that clearly state they contain no VOCs.
Appliances that use gas to ignite a pilot light or flame can threaten the air quality in the entire home when not working properly. Malfunctioning appliances like furnaces, gas ovens and space heaters can start to release carbon monoxide (CO) into the house. CO is a deadly gas when concentrations rise. CO in lower concentrations can cause headaches and nausea. Exposure to high levels of CO can cause death. Homeowners need to install and maintain CO detectors at several points in the house in order to monitor the air for the gas.
A common factor that negatively affects indoor air quality is emissions from a car in a garage. Car emissions contain CO as well as particulate matter and carbon dioxide. Small openings or cracks between attached garages and the house can allow the emissions into the home. The emissions can cause many health problems over time including asthma attacks and dizziness. One solution is to install effective air filters that can remove some of the harmful substances. Another is to seal and insulate doors and walls between the home and garage.
Poor outdoor air quality will affect the inside of the home. Serious air pollution, emissions from nearby industrial equipment and even allergens from plants can all make it into the house. Very poor outdoor air quality can make allergies and respiratory conditions worse even inside of the home. One way to combat this is to have good ventilation in the house that keeps the air moving. Filtering the air is another way to remove outdoor pollutants that could be causing health problems.