Why an Energy-Efficient Residence Can Affect Air Quality and How to Improve It

Residences today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep heating and cooling bills affordable. While this is positive for your heating and cooling bill, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Because air has reduced chances to escape, contaminants can increase and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In fact, your home’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these routine substances and how you can improve your home’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that decrease your air quality are common items. These things contain chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They involve:

  1. Cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, like hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other typical pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more sensitive to VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

In bad instances, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to boost your house’s air quality. Here are several ideas from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your House Often

Frequently cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help decrease on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your residence.

2. Frequently Switch Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your home comfy and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you use. Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be changed, remove it and angle it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home deals with allergies or asthma, we suggest having a filter with a better MERV rating. The bigger the number this is, the better your filter is at getting rid of contaminants.

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever the temperature allows. We also recommend using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to remove pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Neal Harris Service Experts has a fix to help your household breathe better. We’ll help you select the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 816-787-0500 to book yours right away!

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