Poor air quality in homes is not fun to experience and is usually noticed almost immediately. There are several factors that can play into the health of the air in your house from pollution entering from outside to pets or appliances in the house. With all the time that people spend at home these days, its important to understand what can cause bad air pollution and what you can do to address it.
Factors Related to Indoor Air
Chemicals: paint fumes, home renovation construction, sprays, tobacco, etc.
Radon: radioactive gas that forms as a result of the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, or water.
Particles and Microbes: ranges from dust to cooking particles, mold, viruses, and fungi.
Pets and Pests: pet dander, insects like cockroaches or fleas, mice.
Humidity and Temperature: low humidity causes dry skin and rashes while high humidity can lead to mold and water damage. Temperature affects humidity.
Ventilation: low ventilation rates can lead to poor air quality especially if there are high concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide in the air.
Symptoms of Poor Air Quality
When the quality of your indoor air is bad, you and those living in the home may start to develop symptoms that will alert you of the problem. Many of the common symptoms of poor air quality resemble cold symptoms. You may experience itchy eyes, runny noses, sneezing, coughing, dizziness, or fatigue.
In more serious cases when someone already has trouble breathing, poor air quality can exacerbate their problems. Those with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may experience shortness of breath or wheezing when exposed to unhealthy air.
Long-term exposure to indoor air pollution can also be dangerous.
How to Test Air Quality in Your Home
One of the first steps you can take to make your air cleaner is to regularly test the air in your home. Being informed about the air quality is how you know adjustments are needed. You can purchase an indoor air quality monitor to do the job for you. These devices will regularly test for a variety of pollution like chemicals, humidity, carbon monoxide, etc. They each vary a bit so you can research what you’d like to install.
Additional precautions you can do yourself include doing mold and radon tests as well as installing carbon monoxide alarms.
How to Improve Air Quality
Now that you’ve improved your indoor air quality, you are probably interested in knowing what you can do to keep it that way. Here are a few tips to help you out.
- Check your ventilation by keeping vents clean and changing out filters.
- Use your exhaust fan when cooking or open a window.
- Regularly clean your carpets and rugs.
- Maintain consistent humidity levels.
- Add a couple of house plants to help add oxygen to the environment.