Indoor air quality is one of the most important aspects of a home, but it’s not something most actively think about. People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, so it’s essential to have the best air quality possible.
What problems do you need to look out for? What can you do to improve the quality of air in your home?
What Impacts Air Quality in the Home?
Indoor air quality is how we measure how clean or polluted the air in any given space is. Outdoors, it is much easier to tell when air quality is poor. You may notice an odor or even see particles floating in the air. Weather apps often let you know when the quality is poor, making it easy to plan to avoid less-than-ideal air conditions.
Air quality is slightly harder to identify in the home, especially as we spend so much time indoors and gradually become “nose blind” to any smells that may indicate poor air quality.
Indoor air quality is impacted by a wide variety of factors, including the following.
- Home building materials
- Open windows and doors
- Lack of airflow
Any or all of these can be factors if you suspect the quality of air in your home to be decreasing.
Dangers of Poor Air Quality
Poor air quality might seem like a small issue, but over time this can cause major, sometimes life-threatening, problems. Common pollutants include pollen, mold, dust, lead, asbestos, carbon monoxide, pesticides, smoke, pet hair, and other airborne allergens.
Anyone living in a home with poor air quality is potentially in danger. However, the elderly, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible. People who suffer from asthma and other cardio-respiratory illnesses are more likely to suffer from a lack of quality air.
Symptoms may be mild and result in a small headache or eye irritation. If left untreated, poor air quality may cause cancer in some extreme cases.
Common Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Now that we know about the dangers of living in a home with poor air quality, it’s important to be able to identify common signs that the quality is less than ideal.
1. Unpleasant Smell
Have you ever walked into your home after a few hours away and noticed a less-than-pleasant smell? Does the air feel stagnant and stale? Pest infestations, debris buildup in ducts or drains, stagnant air, and dust on surfaces can all cause undesirable smells.
If your home’s air systems are working well air should be flowing and constantly circulating around the home. This helps reduce the possibility of moisture buildup and prevents unpleasant smells.
Want a simple trick to tell if your air is circulating properly? If you can still smell last night’s dinner you cooked a day later, you need to get your system checked.
2. Cold Symptoms That Linger
Poor air quality symptoms are often misdiagnosed as a cold or flu. Symptoms including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, irritated eyes or throat, and dizziness are also indicators of poor air quality.
Write your symptoms down and take note of how long they last. If these symptoms linger for a week or more, it might not be a cold you’re suffering from. It’s important to pay attention to where they are the most severe.
Are your symptoms better when you leave the house? Are they worse in the morning after spending all night breathing polluted air? Or are your symptoms worse at work? You need to know where your symptoms get triggered to determine whether it’s your home’s air quality or somewhere else.
3. Dust Buildup Around Vents
Take a close look at the air vents around your home. Is there a layer of dust on any or all of them? You may also notice a layer of dust on nearby surfaces. This is a common indicator the level of air pollutants is high in your home.
Next, you’ll want to check the air system’s filter. If dust accumulates heavily one month after replacing it, you probably have a higher-than-normal amount of dust and other pollutants in your home.
Unfortunately, if you have dust buildup, you might also experience mold buildup, especially if your air is stagnant. Air that doesn’t circulate well often holds more moisture and can create conditions that invite mold and mildew to invade.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Even the cleanest of people experience poor indoor air quality. Whenever you suspect this is happening, it’s best to check for the above signs. Once you establish that you do in fact have this problem, there are several things you should do as soon as possible.
Get Your Ducts Inspected
The simplest way to tell if you have clogged air ducts is with an inspection conducted by professionals. When you notice dust accumulation, stale air, or dirty filters, schedule an inspection to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible.
Invest in Effective Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are an effective solution for cleaning the air inside homes or businesses. They sanitize the air of pollutants including pollen, allergens, and toxins. There are many different types to choose from based on your needs.
In-duct air purifiers clean the air from the source inside your system while LED air purifiers use light to eliminate pollutants. No matter which type you choose, you can use this tool to keep the air in your home much cleaner without having to lift a finger.
Replace Filters Often
To stay ahead of any problems, it’s best to check your filters once a month. This allows you to notice when the filters need changing and when it may be time for your system to be cleaned by a professional.
Do You Feel More Prepared?
Staying safe and healthy is a number one priority, especially during these unprecedented times. Keeping your indoor air quality clean is essential. If you think your house will benefit from a professional cleaning, schedule a consultation with a local heating and air company today.
Need other HVAC upgrades or repairs? Don’t hesitate to reach out with any other questions or concerns relating your heating and air conditioning system.