As the weather gets warmer and we spend more time indoors, it’s important to be aware of the air quality we breathe. Several things can affect indoor air quality, from the materials used in construction and furnishings to the activities we do inside.
There are a number of things you can do to improve the air quality in your home, from using air purifiers and humidifiers to making sure you have adequate ventilation. Here are the essentials you need to know about improving home air quality.
What Factors Affect Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term that refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. IAQ can be affected by gasses (including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), particulates, microbial contaminants (mold, bacteria), or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions.
Many factors can affect IAQ, and some of them are within our control while others are not. Some of the most common IAQ problems are caused by:
- Ventilation: Poor ventilation can lead to a build-up of pollutants in the air, which can be exacerbated by high indoor temperatures.
- Humidity: High humidity levels can create an environment where mold and dust mites thrive and can also lead to condensation on surfaces, promoting bacteria growth.
- Chemical pollutants: These can come from various sources, including cleaning products, building materials, office equipment, and furnishings.
- Biological pollutants: These include mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, and dust mites.
What Are the Health Risks of Exposure to Poor Air Quality?
The health risks of exposure to poor air quality are numerous and well-documented.
Short-term exposure can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. It can also aggravate existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Long-term exposure has been linked to more severe health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases.
Exposure to poor air quality can also have other, less obvious, health effects. For example, it can contribute to fatigue and headaches. It can also cause eye irritation and dryness, and can worsen skin conditions.
While everyone is at risk of health problems from exposure to poor air quality, some groups are more vulnerable than others. Children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions are at risk. Outdoor workers and people who exercise outdoors are also at increased risk, as they are likely to be exposed to higher levels of air pollution.
How Can You Improve Air Quality at Home?
There are a number of things you can do to improve air quality at home. Some of these are relatively simple and inexpensive, while others may require a bit more effort. But all of them can make a big difference in the quality of the air you breathe.
- Keep your home clean: Dust, mold, and other allergens can circulate through your home, making the air quality worse. Regular cleaning can help reduce these allergens.
- Use an air purifier: Air purifiers can help remove allergens, dust, and other airborne particles.
- Change your furnace filter: A dirty furnace filter can circulate allergens and other pollutants through your home. Replacing it regularly can help improve air quality.
- Don’t smoke indoors: Cigarette smoke is a significant source of indoor air pollution. If you smoke, do so outside.
- Reduce the use of chemicals: Many common household cleaning products and other chemicals can release harmful pollutants into the air. When using them, open windows and doors to ventilate the area.
Making even a few small changes can have a significant impact on the air quality in your home. By taking these steps, you can help create a healthier environment for yourself and your family.
If you want to learn more about the value of getting an air purifying system, check out Air Purifier For Home by Nathan Conner. Here, you can explore free resources, reviews, and guides about air purification. Explore the rest of the site or subscribe to our newsletter to access a free air quality report.