Understanding Indoor Air Quality And What It Means To Your Health

Posted on: 14 June 2019

Your home is — or at least should be — your haven. It is a place where you go to relax at the end of a long day. Your home also serves as a place to spend time with family or entertain guests. However, what if someone told you that your home is not a haven after all? What if you found out that the air you're breathing inside your home can make you sick? If your indoor air quality is lacking, it may be time to address that so you can make your home the safe, relaxing place you need it to be.

Impacts on Air Quality

Many factors can negatively affect indoor air quality. Pollutants swirling around in the air can include radon, combustion pollutants, secondhand smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and asthma triggers. It is not uncommon to find one or more of these pollutants dragging down your home's indoor air quality.

That is not to say that you must live and breathe unhealthy air. Instead, you need to identify what pollutants affect your air and have a professional assist you in improving your indoor air quality. Aside from equipment that can reduce pollutants in the air, there are also structural and behavioral changes you can make.

Addressing Radon

Soil sometimes releases a radioactive gas known as radon. Breathing radon can lead to illnesses, such as lung cancer. If your home has structural issues, such as cracks in the walls and floors, it can allow radon to seep into your home. A professional can test the air to determine if radon is present. If so, you will need to take measures to seal your home.

Use caulk to seal any cracks you find. If necessary, you may have to call in a professional to help you ensure your home is airtight. Aside from preventing radon from seeping into your home, sealing cracks will also help improve your home's energy efficiency. Next, you will want to talk to an indoor air quality professional. A professional can use equipment to help mitigate radon in the air, thus making the air you breathe healthier.

Addressing Combustion Pollutants

If you have appliances in your home that rely on fuel for energy, it is possible that combustion pollutants may be dragging down your home's indoor air quality. Typically, appliances that use fuel include gas stoves, fireplaces, wood stoves, dryers, and water heaters. In general, these appliances will create combustion pollutants because they are not properly ventilated.

Combustion pollutants usually include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. For that reason, you should make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home. Combustion pollutants can cause issues related to your eyes, throat, and nose. People may also experience issues related to lung disease and cancer. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector, ensure your appliances receive proper ventilation, and have a professional help you test your indoor air quality.

Addressing Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is an issue many homeowners face. It goes without saying that smoking typically causes a wide range of health issues, particularly in relation to the lungs. Lung cancer is one of the most common ailments suffered by smokers. However, smoking can also have a negative effect on people who do not smoke. If you are near a smoker, it can have a negative impact on your health as well.

Make sure you do not allow smoking in your home. Smoking indoors can allow the residue from the smoke to build on the surface of your walls, floors, and belongings. Smoke residue from cigarettes can make your walls appear faded and yellow. Aside from the fact that it is unsightly, it is also unhealthy. Make sure anyone you know always keeps their smoking habits outdoors. Also, it may be best to invest in an air purifier to help remove toxins caused by cigarette smoke from the air.

Addressing VOCs

Volatile organic compounds may be released into the air when you use a variety of products, including paint, lacquer, cleaning supplies, pesticides, air fresheners, waxes, and varnishes. Thankfully, you can reduce VOCs in the air by ensuring your home stays well ventilated when any of these products are in use. You can also call an expert to help you ensure your indoor air quality remains safe should you need to use any of the mentioned products.

Addressing Asthma Triggers

Each of the pollutants mentioned can trigger an asthma attack in someone who suffers from asthma-related issues. Mold is yet another pollutant that can have a negative impact on air quality and trigger asthma. If someone in your home suffers from asthma, it is best to have a professional come and improve your indoor air quality.

A professional can clean your vents and install equipment that helps keep the air in your home circulating and fresh. Make sure you address any asthma triggers, such as the ones mentioned and others. Other triggers may include pet dander, dust mites, and mildew. Speak to a provider of air quality services near you for professional assistance.