Your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) affects you and your family’s comfort and health. Knowing what factors contribute to poor IAQ and learning how to control them can ensure that you and your family are breathing the cleanest and healthiest air possible. Some symptoms of poor IAQ are sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, fevers, headaches, dizziness, nausea, dry throat, nasal problems, skin irritation, asthma, and allergies, with some of the biggest contributors being humidity, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and radon.
Elevated humidity levels can lead to problems with mold, dust mite infestations, and mildew. To prevent these problems, keep your home’s humidity level around 30% – 50%. To maintain this level: use a dehumidifier, run an exhaust fan when cooking or bathing, check that your clothes dryer is properly vented, fix leaky plumbing, empty drip pans, and don’t overwater your houseplants.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) include a variety of chemicals and are found in much higher amounts indoors (up to ten times higher than outdoors.) VOCs are emitted by products such as paints, varnishes, waxes, lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, and pesticides. Be sure your work area is well ventilated if using any of these products on a home improvement project, and use green cleaning products and pesticides to reduce VOCs in your home.
Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas, is common in homes with tobacco smoke, space heaters using fossil fuels, and problematic central heating furnaces. By depriving the brain of oxygen, high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to nausea, unconsciousness and death. Make sure your home is a smoke-free environment, use electric space heaters, and have your furnaces inspected and repaired regularly.
Radon is found in rock formations beneath buildings and is responsible for tens of thousands of preventable deaths from lung cancer each year. Whether your home is drafty, airtight, does or doesn’t have a basement, it can potentially have a radon problem. Granite counter tops have also been linked to radon. Simple, inexpensive, do-it-yourself kits are available for radon gas testing and take only a few minutes to perform.
Proper ventilation will reduce indoor pollutant levels by circulating fresh, outdoor air into your home while carrying indoor pollutants out. During months when homes are closed up, the same air continues to circulate with pollutants continually accumulating. Most home heating and cooling systems do not bring fresh air into a home, so open windows and doors when the weather permits.
Walk through your home to check for odors and to look for water damage. Repair any visible leaks and eliminate standing water in humidifiers and air conditioning units to prevent contamination. For additional questions regarding your home’s IAQ, contact Atlanta Air Car to inspect your home’s humidity, air flow, ventilation, and your air conditioning and heating systems. Our skilled staff will make sure that the air in your home is circulating correctly and offer suggestions for improvement such as installation of an air purification system or air duct cleaning. At Atlanta Air Care we want to work with you to improve your home’s IAQ. Together we can be sure that you and your family are breathing the highest quality air, resulting in optimum health and comfort for everyone in your home.