Heating and cooling systems also has an impact on the quality of the air we breathe. Indoor air quality can have a direct effect on your health. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels if it’s not capable of bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources or carry out indoor air pollutants from the home. High temperature and humidity levels can increase concentrations of some pollutants.
Primary Sources of Indoor Air Quality Problems
Many sources of indoor air pollution in homes include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products. These sources can produce carbon monoxide and other deadly gases. Carpets, household cleaning products, and building materials can boost toxins at high levels. Dust, mold and allergens can accumulate and spread through the air and home before you even notice. Even outdoor sources such as radon and pesticides can get in your home.
Amount of Ventilation
When outdoor air enters a home, if the ventilation is not working properly, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health problems. Although newer homes are designed to minimize the amount of outdoor air in and out of the home, they may have higher pollutant levels than older homes.
Indoor Pollution and Health Effects
In the majority of cases, the effects of indoor air quality are gradual. Initial symptoms include sudden headaches, dizziness, fatigue and eye/nose/throat irritation. Continuous exposure can lead to fatal results. For example, carbon monoxide poisoning can kill in minutes, especially when you’re asleep. Long-term effects from indoor air pollution include chronic respiratory diseases or heart disease/cancer.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions
In today’s age of technology, homeowners have many options to ensure that their home air quality is healthy and pollutant-free.
Source Control: Eliminate individual sources, such as smoking or using wood / coal burning stoves. It’s recommended to store cleaning products outside. Never keep harmful asbestos and insulation products inside; leave them outside as well.
Ventilation Improvements: Crack open the windows and leave the doors open. Run bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans and ceiling fans too. Attic fans are useful as well, when weather permits.
Air Cleaners and Filters: Monthly filter changes can keep your home pollution-free and sustain the left and functionality of your heating and cooling system. Some filtration systems can remove up to 98% of all household contaminants, for a good price.