When we think of air pollution, images of thick brown haze hovering over skylines immediately come to mind. But did you know poor indoor air quality poses just as much of a threat to our health, if not more, as outdoor pollutants? As more and more Americans stay at home for work and school due to COVID-19, the importance of quality indoor air cannot be overstated. Read our blog for information on the benefits of clean, fresh indoor air as well as how to keep your loved ones healthy and safe during these unprecendented times.
What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality refers to air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Most people spend a significant amount of time indoors, unaware that gases, chemicals, and other harmful pollutants in the home’s air exchange system can lead to serious health problems such as allergies, asthma, eye irritation, fatigue, and in extreme cases, even cancer.
Primary Causes of Poor IAQ
The EPA cites several factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality but maintains indoor pollution that releases gases or particles as the primary cause of poor IAQ. Moreover, inadequate ventilation can increase pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air or expelling polluted air from the home. High temperatures and humidity levels can also lead to poor indoor air quality, especially in warmer months.
Other pollutant sources include:
- Poorly maintained HVAC system
- Excess moisture
- Fuel-burning combustion appliances
- Tobacco products
- Asbestos-containing insulation and other deteriorated building materials
- Household cleaning or personal care products and materials for hobbies
- Pet hair or dander
- Dust or dirt
Concentrations of indoor pollutants in the air vary as the relative factor of any given single source depends on how much it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. Some sources like household cleaners or building materials like asbestos may be released on a continuous basis, making them more dangerous to your health in the long-term.
How to Protect Your Home from Harmful Pollutants
You can take certain steps immediately to reduce harmful contaminants in your home such as eliminating tobacco use and limiting the amount of cleaning or personal products you use indoors. Purchasing a high-quality furnace filter can keep air clean while trapping allergens and other particles that can disperse in your home. Scheduling annual HVAC maintenance is another way to improve the quality of your indoor air. However, if you suspect poor air quality in your home due to its age, issues with your heating and cooling system, or the presence of harmful gases like radon, we encourage you to contact a professional HVAC technician for a home inspection immediately.
At this time, it’s more important than ever to ensure your home has quality indoor air. Heating & Cooling Two is here to help. Family owned and operated since 1980, we can service all your HVAC needs. Contact us today to schedule a repair or routine maintenance.