With 90% of people spending the majority of time indoors, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed indoor air quality as a high priority public risk. The team at Design Air would like to offer some basic information and some simple solutions to reduce poor indoor air quality.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is the condition of the air in and around a structure and how it affects the overall health of those living or working in the area.
What causes poor Air Quality?
Indoor pollutants: Gases or particles produced by combustion sources such as oil, gas, wood, and the use of tobacco products; deteriorated building materials; household cleaning and maintenance products; pet odors and dander; and inadequately maintained venting and central HVAC systems.
Excessive humidity: Increased humidity levels, without the use of proper ventilation, can cause and spread mold and damp-related fungal spores. Extra moisture in the air can also attract dust-mites, cockroaches, and other pests causing additional concerns.
Ventilation: The need for a consistent supply of fresh air is necessary to dilute the presence of indoor air contaminants and balance humidity levels. Ventilation includes not only bringing fresh air into a building, but also the proper outside venting of gases and moisture from bathrooms, kitchens, laundry facilities, and HVAC equipment.
Outside conditions: Gases or particles from outdoor sources including, but not limited to high concentrations of air pollution, pollen, pesticides, and radon.
What are the symptoms of poor Indoor Air Quality?
Symptoms vary depending on individual sensitivities, level of ventilation, and on the particular contaminant. However, common symptoms identified include coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, upper respiratory and nasal congestion, nose bleeds, and a sore throat.
In severe cases, poor indoor air quality can contribute to the development of rashes, fever, asthma, infections, lung cancer, chronic lung, or heart disease.
What can be done to improve air quality?
The best method of improving air quality is by identifying and eliminating or reducing the source of the issue. Below are some recommended methods:
Maintain a clean environment. This includes regular vacuuming with a HEPA rated vacuum cleaner, dusting and wiping down hard surfaces, and washing cloth products such as bedding, clothing, and curtains.
Keep a smoke free environment.
Replace and maintain all HVAC air filters. For higher filtration levels and for those with high sensitivities, consider having an electric air cleaner or air purifier installed on the HVAC system.
Have all HVAC equipment serviced by a professional annually to ensure correct operation, safety, and ventilation. Install a carbon monoxide detector as an extra security precaution against carbon monoxide poisoning and replace every 3-7 years according the manufacturer’s warranty instructions.
Control the moisture in your home with the use of a well maintained humidifier or dehumidifier. The EPA recommends maintaining humidity levels at 30-50%.
Always use proper ventilation methods when using a kitchen range and when cleaning, painting, or using chemical products.
Have Radon testing done. Contact your state radon office or visit www.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html for more information.
Leave asbestos removal to professionals!
For an in-depth look at this topic, please visit the EPA’s IAQ website at www.epa.gov/iaq/ and if you have any questions about how you can improve the air quality in your home, please contact us today.
Design Air, Inc. provides heating and cooling services to Missoula, East Missoula, Bonner, Potomac,
Clinton, Lolo, Florence, Stevensville, Frenchtown, Alberton and surrounding communities.
Call 406-251-7997 or request an appointment online today!