We are indoors a lot. In fact, the EPA has determined most people spend 90% of their lives indoors a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times more polluted than outside.
Poor indoor air quality can have a negative impact on your health. That’s why it’s critical to be able to spot the warnings of poor air quality in your residence, what leads to it and how to take care of it.
If you’re wondering how you can tell if your Greater Richmond home’s air quality is bad, our team of HVAC experts at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can provide assistance. We’ll go over the problems you’re running into and provide strategies to make your home’s air better.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
When you envision pollution, you typically think of smog. But common things in your home can cause pollution by the gases or particles they let into the air.
These sources include:
- Carbon monoxide
- Cleaning, personal care and hobby products
- Combustion appliances, for example a furnace or stove that runs on gas
- Dust, animal dander and pollen
- Excessive moisture
- HVAC equipment
- Recently installed flooring or carpeting
- Secondhand smoke
- Artificial building materials, such as furniture made from pressed wood
Indoor air pollution can be exacerbated by a lack of ventilation in your house, as well as warm temperatures and humidity. Recently built residences are firmly sealed for energy savings, which is a plus for your energy expenses but not so good when you need more fresh air in your home.
Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?
Because people respond differently to indoor air pollutants, you may experience symptoms right away or later on. Your symptoms may lessen when you leave home but get worse when you return.
Some of the most usual immediate symptoms involve:
- Dry eyes, nose or throat
If someone in your family deals with allergies or asthma, their symptoms might be worse.
Repeated or lengthy exposure may cause respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.
Other Signs of Low Indoor Air Quality and How to Fix It
Your home will also indicate that its air isn’t as clean as it could be.
- Your home is very dusty, especially by the vents. It’s common for your home to get dusty over the week, but accumulation near your air registers should be troubling. There are other particles within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can impact your health, particularly if you have allergies or asthma. A higher-quality air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help reduce dust and other aggravating pollutants.
- Your house has hot and cold spots. Your home comfort unit could be struggling to maintain proper temperature and humidity percentages. Or there may be air distribution problems due to your heating and cooling equipment or ductwork. Our Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling pros can diagnose the problem and suggest repairs or replacement.
- Your house’s air seems too dry or too wet. We advise maintaining your residence’s humidity range between 30–40% for optimum comfort. If your residence isn’t humid enough during the winter, your skin and throat might feel dry. You might also have colds and other respiratory illnesses more frequently. If your residence is too humid during warm weather, you may have increased mold and mildew growth, both of which are bad for your health. You can fight these troubles with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which works with your heating and cooling system to provide balanced humidity throughout your home.
- Your residence has odors that won’t go away. You could detect a musty smell when you come home. Or a cooking smell that just won’t disperse. Since it’s not practical to keep your windows open all the time, a whole-home ventilation system can get your home smelling pleasant again. It replaces musty inside air with fresh outdoor air.
Other approaches the EPA recommends taking include keeping your house smoke-free, installing carbon monoxide alarms and maintaining your home comfort equipment. Annual furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your equipment clean and efficient and may even help them work for a longer amount of time.
We Can Help Improve Your House’s Indoor Air Quality
If you suspect your residence has an air quality issue, give our Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling HVAC specialists a call at 804-302-6657 or contact us online. We’re here to discuss solutions and provide a free estimate.