The health of everyone in your household is a top priority, but your current air quality could cause future health problems. According to the American Lung Association, improving home air quality is vital to minimize health risks and prevent indoor air from reaching unsafe pollutant levels.
With so many pollution types and potentially years before you notice air quality problems, aggressive treatment is necessary to reduce particulate matter, keep you and your family healthy, and eliminate indoor air issues at the source. Understanding how to combat air pollution can help you prevent lung disease and carbon monoxide poisoning, reduce humidity levels in your home, and achieve clean air.
Understanding Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air quality refers to the air quality in building interiors and how it affects occupants. As particulate matter increases in small spaces, the risk of adverse health effects heightens. Some groups may be more at risk for respiratory disease and other conditions due to indoor air pollution.
The air quality index describes environmental pollution levels. This measurement considers the levels of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other harmful environmental contaminants. High numbers indicate more significant pollution.
If you suspect you have poor indoor air quality, there are several solutions to improve indoor air quality yourself or with professional assistance. Air quality monitors can help you keep track of your indoor air quality and avoid carbon monoxide leaks. An air purifier may also be helpful.
Effects of Poor Air Quality
Indoor air pollutants affect your home’s air quality as much as or more than outdoor air pollution. Households are breeding grounds for indoor pollution, leading to a higher air quality index value. Outdoor air pollutants can also invade your building’s interior.
Particulate matter (PM) infiltrates the lungs’ alveolar sacs and disrupts their ability to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Depending on the length of your introduction to an air contaminant and the pollutant type, you may suffer from instant effects, or symptoms may accumulate with time and further exposure.
Older individuals or those with pre-existing health problems are typically more sensitive to poor air quality and exhibit immediate symptoms. Single and repeated exposures can cause symptoms within seconds or minutes. Instantaneous health effects of exposure to any pollutant may cause allergy-type symptoms such as:
- Irritated nose, throat, and eyes
The Environmental Protection Agency reminds individuals that pollutants don’t affect everyone the same, and symptoms may require further investigation to rule out viruses and other illnesses.
In some cases, prolonged exposure to pollutants can lead to decreased sensitivity and higher immunity levels. Individuals already highly susceptible to airborne contaminants may require medical treatment. Minimal interaction with the contaminated indoor environment or the pollutant’s removal can also be effective in preventing short-term effects.
In addition to your age and having pre-existing health conditions, the indoor environment’s size and ventilation can contribute to immediate effects. Poor ventilation prevents contaminated air from exiting the room and fresh air from circulating, especially in small spaces.
Long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality affects everyone differently. While minor ailments may develop for many individuals, mild symptoms could evolve into serious health problems in others, such as lung cancer. Preventing these conditions requires proper ventilation, reliable air quality monitors, and improving your home’s air quality.
The ratio of clean air to contaminants doesn’t always determine whether you’ll get ill. Genetics contribute significantly to your risk of developing respiratory diseases and other issues.
Because bacteria and viruses also travel through the air, it’s possible to develop illnesses like chicken pox and influenza with poor indoor air quality. Serious diseases like cancer and nervous system damage are other possibilities from exposure to environments with high air quality index values.
More research is necessary to understand the long-term effects of airborne particulate matter on one’s health, considering the vast responses of individuals exposed to pollutants. Utilizing home air quality monitors, monitoring the local air quality forecast, and professional solutions can help predict health problems.
Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Several minor and severe health problems may result from extended exposure to poor air quality. The best air quality monitor is often your health. Many individuals facing regular exposure to indoor air quality issues should be aware of the potential risks of living in a highly polluted home.
You or another household member may notice:
- Allergies: Allergic reactions are common symptoms of pollen, dust, and mold exposure. Chemical contaminants may cause a rash or irritate the respiratory tract.
- Asthma: Prolonged exposure to pollutants without proper ventilation can cause asthma. Those with weak lungs or who smoke may be more likely to develop this issue.
- Migraines: Inhaling hazardous gases, radioactive particulate matter, or biological contaminants can cause headaches, nausea, and other migraine-like symptoms.
- Respiratory diseases: Pneumonia and lung cancer are some of the most common respiratory conditions due to in-home pollution. Smokers may develop COPD with extensive exposure to tobacco smoke.
- Cardiovascular disease: Your risk of stroke or heart attack significantly increases with rising indoor pollution.
- Mental confusion: This symptom indicates a gas leak. Radon can gradually lead to fatalities from cancer, while carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death quickly from disrupting oxygen’s flow to your blood cells. Poisoning can occur within two hours of the initial exposure.
Types of People Indoor Air Pollution Impacts Most
Your home’s air quality impacts everyone differently. Older household members may see immediate side effects of indoor pollution, while young, healthy adults may require more prolonged exposure to contaminants before noticing symptoms. Individuals and groups of people most impacted by mold spores, dust, and other causes of poor indoor air quality include:
- Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as children, seniors, or those with pre-existing autoimmune conditions: Not all family members have the immunity to resist the effects of poor indoor air quality. These individuals are most likely to show symptoms sooner.
- People living in low-income housing buildings: Low-income housing is often poorly sealed with cheap, ineffective methods and may also have poor ventilation. Poor outdoor air quality infiltrates these spaces, causing smog and other contaminants to build up.
Given this information, pollution occurs in every indoor environment regardless of condition or size, and it can negatively affect anyone.
Causes of Inadequate Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality problems have many causes that typically warrant professional remediation. Between indoor air pollutants, moisture causing mold and mildew growth, inadequate ventilation systems, and exterior air pollution disrupting your home air quality, these problems contribute to low air quality. Understanding the pollution source will help you stop it and treat the symptoms.
Pollutants and airborne contaminants are the most common source of unsatisfactory indoor air quality. Particulate matter travels through the air, spreading bacteria, gas, and other elements that impact your health. In some cases, poor outdoor air quality can cause low air quality indoors.
- Biological pollutants: These contaminants move between and come from people, plants, and animals. Pet hair, dust, and other debris contaminate your home without adequate removal. Infectious viruses and dried liquid pollutants enter your HVAC system and spread throughout the house when the heat or AC blows.
- Combustion pollutants: Combustion pollutants appear when materials combust, releasing smoke and other toxic fumes into the air, making it necessary to get a reliable air quality monitor. Cigarette smoke, burning cooking oil, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide are among the top pollutants increasing particulate matter levels.
- Chemical pollutants: Most households have sprays and other chemicals for cleaning, household projects, and personal care. Some chemicals’ airborne concentrations remain high despite infrequent use. Pressurized chemical sprays and materials with fume-releasing chemicals can still pollute your indoor environment even if you don’t use them daily.
Pollutants from natural sources often occur from moisture in the home. You can sometimes prevent their growth or spread by controlling your home’s humidity level. Homes with poorly sealed windows and doors may have higher amounts of pollen or insects.
Pollutants you’ll likely experience include:
- Mold spores and mildew: Mildew and mold spores grow within 24 hours of exposure to moisture and require professional removal because of their fast multiplication and highly harmful effects. Typical hotspots include bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
- Dust mites: Dust mites also require a warm, moist environment to multiply successfully. These microscopic insects cause allergies and asthma.
- Bacteria and viruses: Pets and humans can spread illness-causing bacteria and viruses throughout the home. These contaminants can also pass through your HVAC filters. Constant coughing and sneezing are sure signs that something is amiss. Neglecting to clean common household surfaces can exacerbate these issues.
- Animal dander: After pets groom themselves, the saliva on their coats hardens on skin flakes, or dander. When pet dander gets airborne, it collects in your HVAC system, further warranting an indoor air quality monitor.
- Pests: Cockroaches, flies, mice, and other pests enter your home through holes in walls, cracks around window seals, and other minuscule openings. Urine dries and evaporates into the indoor environment, causing an additional risk of illness. Eliminating these pests can significantly improve your home’s cleanliness and air quality.
- Pollen: Weeds, flowers, crops, and other plants’ pollen commonly causes hay fever. Whether you live in a rural area or a busy city, pollen is inescapable due to its microscopic size.
Combustion pollutants impact indoor air quality as materials burn indoors without proper ventilation. Burning cigarettes, cigars, cooking oil, wood, and natural gas result in the following:
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS): Tar and nicotine stain every household surface and make your home smell foul, exposing family members to harmful carcinogens for years. Secondhand smoke can negatively impact others in the home, whether you smoke in a contained room or out the window. Many individuals who never smoke still develop lung cancer from prior secondary exposure.
Carbon monoxide: When cooking oil gets too hot in a pan, it can burn, releasing smoke, carbon monoxide, and soot into the air. Fuel also releases carbon monoxide while burning. Old or malfunctioning home appliances relying on gas or oil fuel types may release high carbon monoxide levels without your knowledge.
Even with proper ventilation, these contaminants fill the atmosphere with particulate matter. Professional treatment may be necessary in extreme cases.
Between getting pest control and painting your home’s interior, many situations introduce new chemical contaminants into your home. Your daily routine may increase the pollution levels throughout your home.
- Household cleaners: Cleaners are among the top cause of bad air quality in the home. Fumes from disinfectant solutions and aerosol sprays introduce organic gases into your living environment. Despite landing on your surfaces, liquid and dry sprays remain in the air for hours to days after use.
- Personal care items: Makeup, hairspray, and other compressed aerosol products for style and personal care include synthetic and organic compounds. Considering many individuals use these items frequently, they become potent sources of indoor pollution and decreased air quality in your home.
- Paint and paint thinner: The paint removal process exposes you and your family to harmful paint thinner fumes, interrupting oxygen’s flow throughout your body. Paint also releases nitrogen dioxide. Older types of paint contained lead and were common in residential buildings. Manufacturers discontinued producing them in response to their adverse health effects.
- Formaldehyde and other pressed wood products: Formaldehyde is instrumental in manufacturing pressed wood and other building materials. Cabinets, furniture, and more are common sources. You’ll find high formaldehyde levels in plywood, particleboard, fiberboard, and other pressed woods that use urea-formaldehyde adhesives.
- Pesticides: Specific sources of pesticidal pollution include disinfectants, insecticides, and rodenticides. These solutions have many forms, including liquids, powders, and sprays. Depending on the pesticide and your area, contaminants may also enter the home in soil or grass on shoes.
- Radon gas: Radon is a radioactive gas that uranium in the soil emits. Radon penetrates homes via cracks in foundations, dirt floors, and sump pumps. Buildup can occur in homes regardless of their condition, their size, whether they have a basement, or whether they have adequate sealing.
- Lead: The Consumer Product Safety Commission and other national organizations have understood lead’s harmfulness for several years, banning lead in paint, piping, and more. Extreme prolonged exposure to lead dust can lead to death, while children may suffer developmental delays. Extended exposure to lead paint can harm the central nervous system, kidneys, and other vital organs.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Some building materials, household disinfectants, crafting products, dry-cleaned garments, and other products have volatile organic compounds that quickly convert into a gaseous form.
Indoor Air Quality Test Costs
If you suspect low air quality in your home from volatile organic compounds or another contaminant, you can test your environment or use an indoor air quality monitor. Depending on the pollution types in your home, an indoor air quality monitor or testing appointment can be costly. After obtaining a sample of your air or the physical, biological contaminants in your home, professional air quality control analysts test the sample for pollution.
Biological contaminants incur the highest fees, while chemical pollutant monitoring brings more reasonable cost demands. The highest amount you could pay for combustion pollutant testing and monitoring is around $100.
Inadequate Ventilation Systems
Many ventilation systems aren’t effective at carrying indoor air pollutants outdoors. Poor ventilation traps contaminants indoors, making them accumulate with further use of chemical pollutants and exposure to biological contributors. Some outdoor air must enter the indoor environment to prevent contaminant buildup.
Custom homes require individualized ventilation systems that meet homeowners’ airflow demands. Prefabricated buildings may already feature architecture suitable for a ventilation system with the best air quality monitor.
Your air conditioning system needs routine servicing to maintain good indoor air quality. Dirty HVAC filters no longer collect contaminants, spreading them throughout the home. An inadequate filter may only trap large particles, leaving bacteria and pet dander circulating with incoming fresh air.
Understanding Airflow From Building Exteriors to Interiors
Whether you have an improperly installed ventilation system or poorly sealed windows and doors, this airflow can contaminate your indoor air, disrupting its quality in your home. While some exterior air must come inside, finding the proper balance is necessary.
There are multiple ways outdoor air can enter your home. Depending on the outdoor air’s temperature and the temperature of your indoor environment, this exchange occurs at different rates.
- Infiltration: Infiltration occurs when outdoor air flows through openings in walls, floors, and around doors and windows. This natural process worsens as your home’s structural issues increase. In many cases, it can lead to higher energy costs.
- Mechanical ventilation: This process involves using physical equipment to move air, such as an exhaust fan or HVAC system.
- Natural ventilation: Ventilation begins when you open windows and doors to allow outdoor air to flow freely through your home.
Apartment Ventilation Versus Household Ventilation
Traditional family homes and apartments share many of the same ventilation issues. Consequently, these spaces may have similar contamination levels due to harmful building materials like lead paint and asbestos insulation. Other problems, like an improperly installed ventilation system, can negatively impact indoor air quality.
Additionally, house and apartment occupants use many of the same pollutants, and many have furniture with pollutive materials. Without ample ventilation, these elements will increase indoor pollutant levels whether they occur in an apartment or single-family home. Pests are a common issue for low-income apartment buildings that results in regular pesticide use.
Water entering your home through the roof, basement, or elsewhere can cause significant damage in little time. Mold and mildew can grow and multiply within days. Surfaces and environments that remain moist or humid suffer from higher mold production due to having ideal growth conditions.
High humidity levels also contribute to such pollution. Condensation builds up in bathrooms and kitchens as steam evaporates and temperatures change. Regular home air quality monitors help homeowners detect moisture changes and catch mold growth before it becomes uncontrollable.
Such moisture buildup is indicative of ventilation problems. Maintaining proper humidity levels can help homeowners manage moisture in their living spaces and prevent condensation that leads to dangerous spores.
An air quality monitor checks a home’s air quality, keeps tabs on rooms with high humidity, and may remove visible mold colonies to restore air quality. Depending on the readings, a professional may recommend using a dehumidifier to control humidity during exceptionally high temperatures for a few weeks.
Outdoor Air Pollution
Outdoor pollution causes include harmful emissions from burning fuel, smoke, and industrial applications. As cars and factories burn fuel, the fumes enter the air, causing smog, or high particulate matter. People living in highly populated cities face greater exposure than those in rural areas.
However, rural residents still have pollution concerns. Farmers may spray crops with pesticides to keep them fresh, while mold spores from damaged crops and dust mites can spread via the wind.
Depending on the pollutants in outdoor air, your indoor air quality may be significantly worse. Between concentrated outdoor air pollution increasing indoor pollution and improper ventilation allowing exterior pollution to enter the home, the results of an air quality test may surprise you.
Some homeowners still use a gas stove, furnace, or air conditioning system. When the pilot light stops working on your hot water boiler but gas still burns, this can cause a carbon monoxide leak. Without a working carbon monoxide detector and indicator light, you risk severe illness that could be fatal.
Other household appliances requiring fuel may emit pollutants like dust or pet hair. Your dryer, washing machine, HVAC system, and other large devices can release harmful gases into the immediate environment. Refrigerant leaks and other toxic chemical spills can also contribute to in-home pollution.
It is essential to understand how to use these products properly and know the warning signs when they malfunction. Keeping home appliances in good condition with regular maintenance and repairs can help you prevent further contamination.
Your home’s building materials, furniture, and carpeting can also contribute to indoor contamination. Asbestos-filled wall insulation, pressed wood products with formaldehyde, and water-damaged carpeting and building materials lower air quality and put all household members at risk for severe health issues.
Asbestos is a fiber standard in insulation for its fire resistance. However, disrupting this material allows it to enter your lungs, potentially causing cancer or severe scarring. Asbestos in good condition poses little threat to your family’s health, while homeowners should dispose of damaged asbestos products.
Cabinets and various wooden furniture may contain resins and other adhesives with formaldehyde. Fiberboard, plywood, and other pressed woods create different contamination levels. Urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) was a popular insulation option decades ago, but contractors have since discontinued its use because of its dangerous chemical levels.
Lead in old furniture or paint can also be harmful with extended exposure. Volatile organic compounds exist in these items and can vaporize even without disruption. While unexposed insulation can cause little to no damage, the risks of exposure to such materials can be worth resolving to minimize future health problems.
Pinpointing In-home Air Quality Issues
Home air quality issues can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the signs. You should be mindful of symptoms indicating low air quality and get air quality testing to identify pollutants. Weatherizing your home can also help pinpoint sources by distinguishing between ventilation issues and household activities causing contamination.
Learning to identify inadequate air quality can also help resolve it. By narrowing down the source of your home’s contamination, you’ll help reduce adverse health effects, make contaminant removal more straightforward, and know what to look for in the future.
Professional air quality specialists can inspect and test your home for air quality issues, or you can implement the following methods to troubleshoot your air quality problems without an air quality monitor or professional assistance. Whether you need a radon test or something else, you’ll want to draw up a realistic budget.
Symptoms Potentially Indicating Poor Indoor Air Quality
It’s easy to misread the signs that you need indoor air quality control services. In addition to visible mold and dust around your home, symptoms indicating you have bad air quality include:
- Health problems
- Sources of pollution in the home
- Condensation and moisture buildup
You should seek medical attention to distinguish between illnesses and temporary health conditions from shoddy air quality. Short-term allergy symptoms and respiratory irritation may occur with pollution, while extended exposure could lead to severe disease. If leaving your home for a few weeks eliminates your symptoms, your house’s environment could be the cause.
In-home Pollution Sources
Many existing pollution sources in the home don’t lead to rapid contaminant buildup. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the items in your home that could cause decreased indoor air quality. If you have an excessive amount of household cleaners, furniture made with dangerous chemical components, or pets, you likely have some level of indoor pollution.
Condensation and Moisture Buildup
If you notice water droplets on walls in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or elsewhere, this signifies poor ventilation. Humidity and warm temperatures indoors cause condensation on cooler surfaces. Continuous condensation buildup can make paint peel and crack, in addition to facilitating the growth of mold and mildew.
If you and your household suffer from one or all of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to get air quality testing and implement solutions to combat inadequate conditions. Professionals can perform air cleaning services, recommend individualized solutions for your home, and help you find the most effective equipment to maintain ideal air quality.
Air Quality Testing
You can’t make extensive home air quality improvements without knowing which contaminants are in your indoor environment. It’s possible to perform air quality testing yourself at home or rely on professionals. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a professional radon test in cases of potential leaks.
If radon leaks aren’t a concern, you can detect most indoor air contaminants with a generic test kit. Since it’s impossible to test for all contaminants with a single sample, conducting multiple tests can add up. Costs are highest for analyzing levels of pollen, volatile organic compounds, and environmental tobacco smoke.
Testing for biological pollution is the simplest option if you already suspect poor indoor air quality and show matching health effects. The EPA provides lead testing kits to determine the lead content in paint in seconds. Home test kits are also available to check ETS content.
While weatherizing your home can effectively prevent outdoor environmental pollution and reduce HVAC costs, it also traps indoor pollution in your home. It’s beneficial to follow best practices for avoiding pollution buildups when weatherizing and ensure proper ventilation.
Weatherization itself doesn’t cause low air quality. Because your home needs some outdoor airflow to maintain ventilation, installing weatherstripping around doors, recaulking around windows, and other similar measures can allow contaminants to concentrate in rooms.
Once your home has an adequate ventilation system, you can begin weatherizing. If your home has poor ventilation, you shouldn’t weatherize it. Instead, you’ll need to resolve ventilation issues before weatherizing to prevent pollution buildup from dangerous elements, chemicals, and biological contaminants.
Consider your daily lifestyle while at home. Your lifestyle and regular household activities could contribute to decreased air quality. Between preparing for the day and cooking dinner for the family, there are many times when your lifestyle may contribute to indoor pollution.
Does your morning routine include using aerosol hair styling products, or do you notice condensation growing every time you take a shower? You could be causing more indoor pollution than you think.
Burning food on the stove, using cologne or hair products, and improper water cleanup contribute to soot, mold spores, and chemicals filling the air. With more frequent use comes worse air quality that indoor monitors will instantly detect.
While smoke detectors are critical features in single-family homes and apartments, carbon monoxide detectors are less common, though more and more property owners are making them a standard. This concern requires immediate resolution to prevent the inhalation of potentially deadly gases.
Resolving Poor Air Quality and Symptoms
When your home faces air quality issues, you need practical solutions to improve its quality, eliminate pollution, and treat minor symptoms. Resolving issues at the source will save money and keep contaminants from returning. Several methods exist to manage health problems, avoid costly utility bills, and improve your home’s air quality.
It’s necessary to:
- Understand potential air contaminants and appropriate pollution resolution techniques
- Know how to prevent further pollution
- Be aware of options for monitoring, ventilation, and air purification
- Stay mindful of symptoms indicating unsafe air quality levels
You’ll have clean air by following these guidelines and understanding the most crucial topics.
Understanding Indoor Air Contaminants
Without a proper understanding of airborne pollutants and how they increase indoor contaminant levels, it’s challenging to resolve poor indoor air quality. Knowing which sources in your home are the most significant contributors is vital. Homeowners can prevent serious illness by being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide sickness, the potential health risks of pollution exposure, and knowing how to treat these concerns.
No home has the same pollution level or sources. Therefore, those looking to resolve indoor pollution concerns should utilize their knowledge to develop solutions specific to their living environment to ensure adequate air quality improvement. One-size-fits-all solutions are meager and temporary at best and could endanger you and your family at worst.
After determining the sources of your indoor pollution, you can test these areas, develop elimination methods, or implement preventive techniques. Because some pollutants require careful removal, knowing which contaminants are present helps you plan the best strategy.
Knowing which ones cause the most air quality damage, how quickly they can affect your environment, and what to do when high concentrations of pollutants infiltrate your home is imperative. By preventing contaminants from entering your home in the first place, you’ll also reduce the risk of air quality or health emergencies.
Utilizing Pollution Prevention Techniques
No matter your location, preventive techniques against pollen, mold, and other pollution sources are instrumental in improving air quality. Reducing your chance of exposure means you don’t have to employ professionals or perform air quality treatments yourself. The following preventative techniques can help better your indoor environment and resolve foul odors in the home.
- Getting an air duct cleaning to reduce dust mites, pests, pet hair and dander, and other debris in your HVAC system’s ductwork
- Closing windows and doors to prevent contaminants from entering the home
- Going outside to use tobacco products like cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers
- Reducing exposure to newly dry-cleaned clothing and its carcinogenic emissions
- Wiping your feet on doormats before coming inside
- Keeping up with household cleaning before dust and hair accumulates
- Installing air quality monitors to catch pollution before it causes significant damage
Eliminating or Controlling Pollution Sources
The most effective way to quickly improve home air quality is to eliminate, reduce, or otherwise control the source of pollution. By removing the source, household members don’t have to need the comfort of their homes to get relief from inconvenient symptoms.
Controlling or removing contaminants can help you save considerably on the costs of improving your HVAC system with new filters, air purification devices, and increased ventilation. After removing the contaminant’s source, you’ll eventually notice cleaner air.
Sometimes, reducing a pollution source is enough to eliminate harmful side effects. However, separating the source won’t always prevent exposure completely. You may need to implement multiple control methods or remove the origin altogether.
Reduce emissions from smog-producing appliances by purchasing environmentally friendly options or running them regularly. You can seal undamaged asbestos and formaldehyde insulation behind walls. Isolating the source in areas where the air won’t reach can be effective for some contaminants.
Implementing Ventilation Systems
While ventilation systems have the added disadvantage of potentially increasing HVAC energy usage and utility bills, incorporating them into your home’s air quality control regimen can significantly reduce your risk of illness from carbon monoxide or smoke. Air quality monitors such as carbon monoxide detectors are instrumental additions to your household ventilation system.
HVAC systems don’t move air between outdoor and indoor sources. Instead, they transfer, remove, or create heat to manage your home’s temperature. You’ll need to perform periodic inspections and cleanings to maintain an excellent ventilation rate.
Ventilation is vital when painting, cooking, welding, or performing activities that produce significant particle matter. Alternatively, you can prevent these contaminants from reaching your interior by enjoying such activities outdoors. During good weather, you can open windows and doors or use a window air conditioner unit to vent directly outside.
Utilizing existing ventilation tools is also effective. The range hood over your stove removes airborne contaminants when cooking with oil to mitigate the carcinogenic effects of oil hotter than its smoking point. Turn on your bathroom ceiling fan while showering to reduce moisture buildup on walls and other surfaces.
Air Purification Solutions
One of the most effective ways to improve your home’s air quality is to filter and clean it. Air purification devices are the newest innovation in improving home air quality. They filter and kill harmful particles in your indoor environment and come in many sizes.
Whether you want a full-home air purification system or a solution for one room, the following options are available:
- Air cleaners: Portable air cleaners with carbon filters can successfully remove the smallest particles in your indoor environment. Thicker filters produce better results as air must work harder to pass through them, leaving contaminants behind. You’ll need to select an air cleaner with enough cleaning power to filter your largest room’s atmosphere.
- Ozone generators: Ozone generators are devices that produce ozone gas. This gas has a rich oxygen content that is harmful to people and animals at the high levels necessary to purify environments with bacteria, viruses, and other airborne contaminants.
- Air filters: Traditional air filters install in your HVAC system and trap biological matter and other pollutants. They require routine changing to maintain acceptable air quality and prevent HVAC problems like frozen coils and system failures.
- Air purifiers: Air purification modules connect to your HVAC system and provide extensive filtration and purification with UV rays, air filters, and other solutions. They clean air as it passes through your air conditioner and heating components.
Professional air quality specialists know how to help you determine which air quality solution is best for your home and everyone living in it. Don’t take their expertise lightly or balk at the expense—it could just save your life.
Using an Indoor Air Quality Monitor
A reliable air quality monitor is essential for air quality testing. Without a precise air quality sensor, you risk false readings that won’t help you solve foul indoor odors or find the source of the most significant pollution. A professional home air quality monitor detects pollutants in your indoor environment correctly the first time.
Air quality monitors are incredibly effective at detecting harmful gas. Carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, and other indoor air quality monitors warn household members of potentially deadly emissions. If you suspect you have a radon gas leak, you can schedule professionals to perform a radon test or request a radon test kit from the Environmental Protection Agency and perform the test yourself.
An air quality monitor can also detect multiple sources of contamination in the home, including bacteria, VOCs, and mold spores. Further analysis may be necessary to determine the exact amounts in your air.
Maintaining Humidity and Moisture Levels
Since moisture is a primary cause of mold, mildew, dust mites, and other contaminants, it’s crucial to maintain your home’s humidity and moisture levels. Ideal humidity levels are between 30% and 50%. You should have no standing water in your home and get water damage remediation as soon as leaks occur to prevent costly repairs.
You can use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. Properly ventilating your attic and other high-humidity areas will prevent further condensation buildup and mildew growth. Install a sump pump in your basement to prevent flooding during stormy weather.
Effects of Improved Indoor Air Quality
Whether you resolve your poor air quality with home air quality monitors or a professional air purifier installation, you’ll notice the benefits of improved air quality, such as:
- Better smelling air: Purification systems and source removal ensure your home has fresher air. You’ll notice a reduction in odors from pets, chemicals, cigarettes, and outdoor air.
- Improved respiratory health: With less airborne debris comes fewer allergy symptoms. Your lungs will feel better, and your respiratory tract may recover within days or weeks, depending on the length and level of pollutant exposure.
- Less dust, pet hair, and other debris in your home: Biological contaminants are often unsightly. Your home will look and feel cleaner after removing pollutants and cleaning regularly.
- Improved energy efficiency: Clean air filters and better air quality mean your HVAC system doesn’t have to work hard to maintain ideal home temperatures. You’ll decrease your environmental footprint significantly.
- Increased cost savings on utilities: Because you don’t have to run your HVAC system for as long due to improved air quality and energy efficiency, you’ll save money on monthly utility bills.
- Potentially increased home value: Installing an air purifier or similar device can significantly boost your home’s value if you plan to sell. Many potential homebuyers don’t want to deal with the installation process or get air filtration assistance. Doing it before you sell your home allows you to increase the selling price.
Following the appropriate resolution guidelines for your home air quality, you can enjoy these benefits and protect your loved ones. Trust professional air quality specialists for accurate guidance.