The Importance of Good Indoor Air Quality at Home
The average homeowner never thinks twice about the quality of interior air. Unless you start to notice mysterious odors or you begin coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and exhibiting other symptoms of respiratory distress, chances are that you’ll have little reason to ponder the content of the air that you breathe in your home. And yet, even if you’re not yet experiencing problems, there are several reasons you might want to have your HVAC system checked annually or even conduct regular mold tests. The draw of HVAC maintenance is fairly obvious – you want your system to continue working normally and changing the filters on a regular basis will help to alleviate dust in the air when you first fire up your furnace or AC unit after months of inactivity. As for mold tests, you should know that their merit has been widely disputed since all homes have mold (yes, all homes), most of which is not harmful. But with regular testing (say annually) you can spot patterns that might indicate a growing problem. And even if you’re skeptical about any issues with your indoor air quality, it’s important to at least consider how it could affect your health. Here are just a few good reasons to work on improving the air quality in your home.
In case you didn’t know, studies have proven that on average, indoor air quality is worse than what you encounter outdoors, often containing as much as five times the amount of contaminants you might find outside your front door. This may be due to toxins like chemical cleaning solvents and paint that is laden with harmful VOCs; it could have to do with dust, dander, smoke, and other allergens; it might be mold problems; or you could suffer from ventilation issues. It doesn’t really matter what the cause is since all could spell trouble if you fail to address them. And considering how much time you spend indoors, these issues can lead to major health problems for you and your family over time.
In truth, you may not be the one to suffer. It is far more likely that particulates polluting your interior air will cause problems for children and elderly inhabitants. This is especially true for family members that already have asthma and allergies. In rare cases, aggressive forms of mold or particular allergens present in the home have been cited for serious illness or even death. Although it is rather unlikely that you’ll face such conditions in your home, you can never be too careful, especially if your kids or senior relatives suffer from conditions that become exacerbated in your house.
So what can you do to improve the quality of your indoor air? There are many potential solutions. For one thing you can remove common sources of pollution such as chemical cleaners, cigarette smoke, plush furnishings and carpet, and even pets if there is no other alternative. You can also use a HEPA filter vacuum to trap and lock allergens and particulates, install HEPA filters in your HVAC the next time you’re having furnace maintenance or troubleshooting AC problems, and place air purifiers throughout your space. Running regular tests for indoor air quality is also a good plan. You may not want to believe that the air in your home could be responsible for your health problems, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. And once you’ve taken steps to improve you’re indoor air quality, you’ll find that you and your family can breathe a lot easier.