The air quality of your Swannanoa, North Carolina, home plays a tremendous role in your health. Here are four ways IAQ impacts your health and how to improve it:
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
A number of pollutants cause poor indoor air quality, including:
- Household cleaning products.
- Pet dander.
- Emissions from appliances.
- Tobacco products.
- Inferior building materials.
Since modern homes are relatively airtight, these pollutants often have nowhere to go. As a result, they tend to build up if you don’t take steps to remove them from your home.
How Do I Know if I Have Poor IAQ?
The quickest way to determine if you have air quality issues is to purchase a home air quality testing kit. These kits are relatively inexpensive, and they’re about 80 to 90 percent as accurate as professional testing.
Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?
Indoor air quality matters because it can have a huge impact on your health. Poor indoor air quality is associated with a host of health issues. Taking steps to improve it can vastly improve quality of life, particularly in young children and people who have allergies and asthma.
What are Some Health Effects of Poor IAQ?
Some health effects of poor IAQ show up immediately following exposure to certain indoor air pollutants, while others take years to develop. However, symptoms vary greatly and are dependent upon the type of pollutants.
Coughing, Sneezing, and Watery Eyes
Coughing, sneezing and watery eyes are symptoms of exposure to common allergens, such as pet dander, pollen and bacteria. Since these symptoms are easily mistaken for signs of other illnesses, such as colds and flu, it’s important to note and keep track of when they occur. For instance, if you notice relief from symptoms soon after leaving a particular room and they consistently return upon re-entering, your symptoms are likely caused by indoor air pollutants.
While many of the immediate effects of indoor air pollutants are a relatively minor annoyance, they can cause serious health complications in people with asthma. Asthma symptoms are often triggered by irritants such as tobacco smoke, chemical odors and dust mites.
Some research suggests that children whose mothers were exposed to certain types of indoor air pollutants are more likely to develop ADHD. Researchers have found that the impact of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PHAs, on a pregnant woman’s endocrine system can have negative impacts on her child’s developing brain. Burning wood and tobacco smoke are two common causes of PHAs. So, it’s important for pregnant women to avoid tobacco smoke. But it’s also a good idea to make sure your chimney is clean and the flue vents to the outside of your home if you have a wood-burning fireplace. This will help minimize PHA accumulation in your home.
Long-Term Health Effects
Some health effects don’t occur for years following exposure or only after long periods of repeated exposure. These long-term health effects are serious and include issues such as heart disease, cancer and severe respiratory disease. However, we need more research to determine exactly what amounts and types of pollutants cause these issues.
What Can I Do to Improve My Indoor Air Quality?
Here’s how you can improve your indoor air quality:
Change Your Air Filter
Change your HVAC’s air filter often. Your filter is your HVAC system’s first line of defense against airborne particulates that can cause health problems.
Install an ERV
Install an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, in your home. An ERV is a ventilation system that exhausts stale air along with the pollutants it contains. It also filters and pretreats fresh incoming air. ERV installation allows homeowners to enjoy the energy efficiency that comes with today’s tightly built homes while maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Many synthetic cleaning products contain a host of ingredients that contribute to indoor air pollution. Using natural products to clean, such as vinegar and essential oils, can help you keep your home fresh without any harmful byproducts.
If you need help improving your indoor air quality, give Gentry Heating, Inc. a call. We’ll help you figure out the steps you can take to make sure the air in your home is healthy, clean and fresh.
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