How Does Indoor Air Quality Affect Your Health?

Indoor Air Quality- Woman deeply breathing

Did you know poor indoor air quality can cause you and your family to feel ill? 

Well, it can do much more than that, in fact. 

Even before the global pandemic, people spent much of their lives indoors, working, relaxing, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying the comforts of air conditioning. But, now more than ever, humans are spending hours upon hours indoors. So, the condition of their environment has a massive impact on their health and overall quality of life.

In this blog, Air Dreamy describes how indoor air quality affects your health. Read on to find out what is involved in this crucial element of modern life and how to maintain healthy living conditions.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

“Indoor air quality” pertains to the condition of the air inside of a building, like a home, school, or office. The term is used to describe the quality of the air indoors and how it can impact the occupants’ comfort and health. 

Take an office building, for example. Suppose the building has poor indoor air quality. In that case, employees and staff may be experiencing symptoms as mild as fatigue and headaches. However, they may also be exposed to allergens, mold, and even carcinogens. 

Overall, indoor air quality depends on three main factors:

  • Humidity
  • Ventilation
  • Pollutants

What Does Good Indoor Air Quality Look Like?

To better understand this concept, let’s look at what’s considered good indoor air quality. A home with good air quality will have a comfortable temperature, an ideal humidity level, efficient ventilation, and very few or no contaminants or pollutants. The household members feel fresh and cozy inside the home. Furthermore, they do not experience ill symptoms from the air inside. 

If they do feel ill, their symptoms subside after medical treatment. In contrast, those impacted by poor indoor air quality will likely continue to feel sick after many doctor’s visits unless their air quality is improved.

Indoor Air Quality- Plants

How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Health

Although comfort is impacted, the importance of indoor air quality has much to do with its effect on a person’s health. Poor indoor air quality can cause a slew of health issues for the occupants of the building. The main areas of concern include:

  • Lack of humidity
  • Excessive humidity
  • Indoor air pollutants 

Lack of Humidity

Ideally, the humidity levels indoors should fall between 30% and 50%, depending on the area’s climate and what time of year it is. To find out the humidity status in your home, locate the reading displayed on your thermostat.

When the level drops below the ideal range, occupants experience an excessively dry and stale environment. This can cause mild reactions like chapped lips, itchy skin, and irritated eyes. However, with high-risk individuals or in extreme conditions, people may struggle with serious respiratory health problems. For instance, the person may have irritation in the lungs, a persistent harsh cough, and more.

Excessive Humidity

Indoor environments with excessive moisture in the air can cause occupants to feel hot and damp indoors. Health concerns linked to high humidity levels include flu-like symptoms like that of low humidity conditions. And though the symptoms of both situations are similar, what causes them are very different.

Those affected by high indoor humidity may have respiratory issues, skin and eye irritation, prolonged seasonal allergies, etc.

Indoor Air Pollutants

Poor indoor air quality also refers to the chemicals and organic matter in the air. For example, buildings with too much water in the environment are the perfect place for dangerous fungi to grow, such as mold and mildew.

These two contaminants can cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to them. In fact, many people are allergic to mold and will experience flu-like symptoms when exposed to it for a prolonged period.

And there are many more pollutants to be aware of when it comes to indoor air quality.

Common Indoor Air Pollutants and Allergens:

  • Asbestos
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Smoke
  • Lead
  • Household chemicals
  • Other biological pollutants

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Several factors may cause inferior indoor air quality. The following are some of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality:

  • Lack of effective ventilation
  • Not caring for the HVAC system properly
  • Excessive moisture build-up due to leaks or other plumbing issues
  • Activities like remodeling and construction
  • Contaminated air outdoors

Furthermore, when occupants of a building are unaware of the importance of indoor air quality, the environment inside is more likely to lose quality and cause health problems. So, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the dangers of unhealthy indoor conditions and spread your knowledge to family, friends, and loved ones.

Indoor Air Quality- home

What You Can Do to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

Every homeowner needs to know how to keep their indoor air quality at its best. That way, they avoid unwanted illness and discomfort in the home. Luckily, there are many simple ways to keep up with the environment indoors. Furthermore, these methods help improve the air quality inside a house that has fallen below healthy standards.

Check out the following five ways to improve indoor air quality at home and be on your way to a healthy living environment.

1 | Invest in a Dehumidifier or Humidifier for Your Home

Dehumidifiers and humidifiers help to control humidity levels. On one hand, a dehumidifier will eliminate excessive moisture in the air. While a humidifier will introduce moisture into an overly dry environment.

These appliances are lifesavers for those who struggle to keep indoor humidity in the ideal range. Both dehumidifiers and humidifiers can either be portable or directly attached to your home’s HVAC system. Mobile devices are excellent for treating smaller spaces and can be moved from room to room. However, if your home is far from a healthy humidity level, you may want to consider purchasing a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier. This is because they work with your HVAC system to treat the entire home, rather than only the surrounding area.

2 | Keep Up with your HVAC System

One of the most essential things to do in order to improve indoor air quality is to care for your HVAC system correctly. This includes changing the air filter when it has become dirty, discolored, or clogged with debris. In fact, experts recommend switching out the air filter about every 30 days for the best results.

Another way to keep up with your HVAC system is to consider purchasing specialized air filters that block allergens and other pollutants from flowing through the system. If you or a loved one struggles with asthma, seasonal allergies, or other chronic respiratory issues, investing in some high-quality air filters is vital to maintaining comfort and health indoors.

And finally, be sure to address any HVAC problems or concerns immediately. Putting off repairs and necessary inspections can be detrimental to indoor air quality. If you discover or suspect a problem with your AC, call your local HVAC company right away to avoid future air quality issues.

3 | Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance 

Prevent AC emergencies that may risk the quality of air inside your home by scheduling regular HVAC maintenance. The experienced experts will inspect for faulty components, proper airflow, and the presence of mold and other allergens. It is recommended that any home should be serviced about twice a year- once before the heat of summer arrives and once again when winter is on its way.

And while you’re at it, book a duct cleaning, too. Your home’s duct system can be the perfect breeding ground for air contaminants. Having them professionally cleaned about every couple of years will ensure a healthy living environment.

4 | Use the Vents Throughout Your Home to Remove Heat and Humidity

When using areas of the home like the kitchen and bathroom, switch on the vents to remove the heat and moisture produced. For instance, always use the vents when taking a shower or cooking a meal. Furthermore, be sure to dust the vents as often as needed to work efficiently.

5 | Get Plumbing Problems Serviced Immediately

Just like with your HVAC system, always take care of plumbing issues as soon as they arise. Situations like leaks can introduce moisture into the air and potentially result in mold and mildew growth. These fungal organisms reproduce by their microscopic spores traveling in the air. So, even if the mold is under the sink and not in the vents, it will likely spread if not addressed promptly.

How Air Dreamy Can Help Maintain Ideal Indoor Air Quality

Now that you know of the importance of indoor air quality and how easily it can negatively impact the health of you and your family, you’ll need a trusted team to help ensure your home environment is the best it can be.

Look no further than Air Dreamy– your local HVAC experts.

We’ve been the number one choice for our loyal customers for over 30 years and guarantee reliable service and quality work.

Call Air Dreamy for all your HVAC needs and start prioritizing indoor air quality today.

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