Does your home have good indoor air quality? IAQ (indoor air quality) problems may arise from inadequate temperatures within the home, humidity levels, poor air circulation, filtration or ventilation system issues. Other factors that can contribute to poor IAQ are indoor air contaminants, such as chemicals, dust, mold or fungi, bacteria, gases, vapors and odors. In addition, lack of enough fresh air intake from the outdoors can compound the problem.
Many homeowners, in particular those that work from home and stay at home parents, spend a good deal of their time inside of their homes, breathing not the fresh air from outside, but the often poor quality, recirculated air from within their home.
What are indoor air contaminants? There are many examples, such as tobacco smoke, perfumes, body odors, dust, cleaning solvents and disinfectants, glues, candles, dust mites, stagnant water, pet dander, etc. Contaminants come in many forms, and the more time you spend inside of your home, the more time you will spend breathing in many of these indoor air pollutants.
Breathing poor quality indoor air can cause dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin. It can also lead to headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity, sinus congestion, coughing and sneezing, dizziness and nausea.
Many of these symptoms may also be caused by other health conditions including common colds or the flu, and are not necessarily due to poor IAQ. This can make identifying and resolving IAQ problems more difficult.
What can a homeowner do in order to achieve good indoor air quality? Having the home’s duct system professionally cleaned should be on most every homeowner’s list of to-do’s. Did you know that nearly all new homes constructed have leftover construction dust left within the duct system? This includes drywall dust, dirt particles, paint over spray and other contaminants that find their way into the main duct system during construction of the home. And it stays there….until it is removed.
There are also a number of IAQ products that work with the home’s heating and cooling system that are quite effective at improving the indoor air quality. Accessories such as whole house humidifiers (or dehumidifiers for high humidity climates), electronic air cleaners that clean the air passing thru the duct system, and ultra violet light air cleaners that help reduce or eliminate contaminants and odors.
If you are concerned about your home’s IAQ, contact your local heating and air conditioning professional for solutions to your needs.