How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air pollution is caused by the release of particles into the air. These particles come from mold, pollen, cleaning products, pesticides, tobacco smoke, dirt from shoes, lead, pets, insulation materials, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from paints, carpets, and adhesives. There are many causes of air pollution, so one has to be very careful about not contaminating the air in one’s home.
Indoor air quality problems can cause discomfort, sickness, and reduce productivity for home and building occupants. Poor indoor air quality reduces a person’s ability to concentrate and perform calculations on specific tasks. Symptoms of poor air quality are: headaches, eye and skin irritations, allergic reactions, nausea and fatigue, but there are also long-term effects like asthma, respiratory tract infections, heart disease and cancer.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Sufficient ventilation can decrease indoor pollutant levels by bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute pollutant concentration from indoor sources and at the same time carrying these pollutants out of a home or building. Ventilation can occur through infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Infiltration is air movement through openings and cracks in walls, windows, and doors. Natural ventilation is improved by opening windows and mechanical ventilation comes from an air conditioning system that uses ducts and fans to supply outdoor air into a building.
Improve ventilation by using exhaust fans in bathrooms and rooms where cleaning products are kept. It is important to keep the fumes from chemicals in cleaning products from mixing with the air that the building occupants breathe.
Another way of improving indoor air quality is by keeping pollutants out of your home. Use floor grilles in front of all building entries so people can shake the dirt off their shoes before entering your home. Also, make sure that the filters in your air conditioning system are cleaned regularly and are well maintained. Use paints and adhesives that contain no VOC’s when you are painting inside a house and keep other sources of contamination, like household cleaning products, out of your home. Have plants inside your home. Houseplants are known to absorb carbon dioxide and VOC’s while releasing oxygen.
Clean Your Carpets
Another effective method of improving air quality in your home is by having your carpets cleaned by a professional service on a regular basis. Your carpets attract dirt, debris and contaminants which live deep within the carpets pile. These contaminants can negatively affect your health and impact the air quality on your home as every time your carpets are walked on these particles are released into the air that you breathe and can cause health issues.
The elderly and young children are those who are most affected by dirty carpets. Asthma sufferers and family members who suffer from allergic or breathing problems will certainly benefit from regular carpet cleaning. Mold and mildew can also form in damp living spaces, so if you have had any spills or stains on your carpet that were not treated properly, these dangerous spores can breed and cause lung disease problems.
Indoor Air Quality Testing
Indoor air quality testing is an important measure to determine the quality of air inside a home. Since the majority of air pollutants are invisible and do not produce an odor, testing with an indoor air quality monitor is necessary to determine the air contamination levels. Indoor air testing equipment can measure humidity levels, dust, material and chemical contaminants, allergens, air temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations. An indoor air quality test kit for the home can cost around $100, but it is worth it if you find people in your home are getting sick or having allergic reactions. The kit will let you know if you need to take the necessary steps in improving the indoor air quality in your home.