Home air quality is often overlooked and underestimated. The EPA states that the air in homes is typically two-to-five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is even true for metropolitan areas with booming city streets.
This is a terrifying concept. Your home is supposed to be a safe space. Instead, it can be a petri dish loaded with pollutants, bacteria, and other harmful airborne threats.
Remedying the solution can be rather easy, but how can you tell you the need to improve indoor air quality? Luckily, most signs of poor air quality are rather apparent. There are also some tests you can perform with specialized equipment.
What Impacts Indoor Air Quality?
Several factors impact indoor air quality, but none more than sources that release gases and particles into the air. Appliances such as gas stoves, kerosene heaters, tobacco products, building materials, and open windows and doors are often the biggest culprits.
Even if these contributors are avoided, it’s guaranteed that air quality will naturally diminish over time. Moisture, dust, and even breathing are all issues that will gradually lower air quality.
You can rest assured that poor indoor air quality does not mean the home’s overall condition is sub-par. It just means that it’s time for some regular maintenance.
By now, you’re likely wondering how one can determine the condition of the air in their home. While some procedures do require equipment, the best indicator is often your own body.
If the air in your home is refreshing, crisp, and you have no breathing issues, or otherwise, it is a good sign that you don’t have an air quality issue.
The poor quality will have negative impacts on health. Symptoms can range from minor discomfort to conditions that often drive individuals to seek medical attention.
While it is recommended to visit a doctor any time one is experiencing severe illness, it may directly link to poor indoor air quality. Below you will find a list of some physical and psychological impacts of lousy air.
Symptoms of Poor Air Quality:
- Headaches and Nausea
- Shortness of Breath
- Asthma Worsens
- Sinus Congestion
- Irritated Eyes, Skin, and Throat
Health issues often occur in the most extreme situations, and you may not be experiencing any. This is a good sign but doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
You may even be ahead of the curve by considering air quality conditions before these symptoms can manifest. This is a great situation to be in, but there are things you can physically look for to determine whether or not it is time to take action.
Accumulation of dust and some moisture is typical in the common household and will need to be dealt with regularly. Even when it is, internal components of the HVAC system will still require maintenance and cleaning.
Excessive accumulation of dust, debris, and moisture is often an indication that quality is dwindling. For telltale signs, you can refer to the list of common signs below.
What to Look For:
- Dirty Air Filters
- Dusty Vents and Ducts
- Mold and Residue on Ducts and Vents
- Dust on Furniture/Peeling Wallpaper
Steps taken to mitigate air quality issues don’t always require professional help. Replacing air filters, cleaning dusty vents and ducts, and even mold removal are things you can do on your own.
Furthermore, you can also take a look at the coils in your air conditioner. The condenser coils accumulate moisture during the cooling process. Over time, they collect debris, and you can clean them with dedicated solutions.
If you are taking this step, it’s good to look at all the drain pan just below the condensers. Mold can often dwell here. A simple solution of bleach and water is perfect for dealing with this issue.
By cleaning the coil and drains, you are increasing the system’s ability to remove moisture in the air while killing a common mold source. Both of which can have a massive impact on air quality.
What Can I use to Test Indoor Air Quality?
Identifying and dealing with pollutants and leading contributors to poor indoor air quality isn’t all you can do. While your body may be able to warn you of a harmful environment, it’s not the best tool for the job.
The best course of action is to act proactively. Keeping an eye on the condition of the air in your home is made easy with the following instruments:
- Indoor Air Quality Meter
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Radon Detector
By implementing these devices into your home, you can get a real-time reading of conditions. They can be instrumental in taking proactive measures to maintain a healthy status and warn you of any serious issues before they can take a severe toll on your well-being.
Dealing with poor indoor air quality is something any homeowner can do. Most times, simple home remedies and easy steps can be taken to improve the situation significantly. However, we did say that proactive measures are often the best course of action.
One thing you can do to help maintain a healthy condition is setting yourself up with a preventative maintenance plan. HVAC techs can inspect the HVAC system’s state, identify potential issues, and work with you to prevent them from harming your health.