In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency links indoor air pollution to numerous adverse health effects. This may sound alarmist, but it’s a fact that health agencies around the world are only beginning to understand. Fortunately, you and your family can do something about this risk.
How Clean Is Your Home’s Air?
Do you really know what’s swirling around in the air you breathe? No matter how clean you keep your home, you may be surprised by the answer. That’s because the typical home is simply packed with unwitting sources of airborne pollution. Dust is virtually everywhere. Humans and pets both shed dander wherever they go. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanate from furniture, electronics, paint, carpets, and hundreds of other sources. Even cooking, cleaning and other mundane activities can generate pollutants that linger in the air.
Making this more problematic is the fact that most homes don’t have a good way of expelling these contaminants. Modern homes are typically sealed up tight to prevent any air from leaking in or out. This makes them more energy-efficient, but it also limits their supply of fresh air and seals in any airborne pollutants. As a result, these contaminants can quickly accumulate and reach potentially unsafe levels. Indeed, the typical indoor space may be up to five times more polluted than the outdoor environment*.
Exposing the Dangers of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Perhaps the most troubling thing about indoor air pollution is that it rarely announces itself. You could be breathing in polluted air for weeks, months, or even years without realizing it. Nonetheless, exposure to airborne pollutants comes with a variety of potential risks. In the short term, you may experience dizziness, headaches, respiratory irritation, fatigue, allergic reactions, and worsening asthma. If you seem to experience these symptoms only while at home, poor indoor air quality is the likely culprit.
Over the longer term, living in a home with poor air quality can pose serious health hazards. A number of serious medical conditions have been associated with chronic exposure to indoor air pollution**. Young children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to airborne pollutants. Unfortunately, these health issues often aren’t connected to poor air quality until it’s too late. If you suspect you may have indoor air quality issues, it’s important to act quickly to address the problem. According to SpareTheAir, poor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system.***
Putting an End to Indoor Air Quality Issues
Indoor air pollution is an insidious threat, but keeping your family safe may be easier than you think. The best place to start is with an air quality assessment. This helps identify the pollutants in your home and where they’re coming from, allowing you to remove as many sources as possible. It’s also a good idea to schedule an HVAC maintenance visit. In addition to servicing your air filters, a technician can check to ensure your system isn’t producing any dangerous byproducts. These simple steps are often enough to resolve minor indoor air quality issues.
If further action is required, installing a whole-home air purifier is a great option. Air purification systems actively and aggressively filter the air passing through your HVAC system, removing up to 99% of contaminants. Simply put, a properly installed air purifier is your best defense against potentially dangerous indoor air pollution. If your home isn’t adequately ventilated, adding a ventilation system can also help remove pollutants and pull in fresh air.
If you’re concerned about indoor air quality issues, you can’t afford to leave anything to chance. Reach out to the dedicated professionals at Oncourse Home Solutions for answers. With high-quality Carrier products and a network of in-house NATE-certified technicians as well as trusted, licensed, insured, independent contractors, we have the expert HVAC services you need to stay safe and healthy.
* Source: Report on the Environment: Indoor Air Quality by the Environmental Protection Agency
** Source: An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality by the Environmental Protection Agency
*** Source: Air Pollutants and Health Effects by SpareTheAir