According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality in general tends to be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air. In extreme cases, pollutant levels have been found to be as much as 100 times greater indoors than out.
Chances are your home isn’t that bad, but considering how much time you spend inside your home, it’s not a bad idea to understand the most common causes of indoor air pollution and how they could impact your health. Here are just a few things that could be polluting your indoor air and the effects you may experience as a result.
Most homes are not exactly airtight, as evidenced by chilly drafts around windows, doors, and other seams during the winter months. This means outside pollutants like smog, pollen, and other particulates are likely getting in and then getting trapped in your home.
Even if you take steps to seal up the seams in your structure where outside air is getting in, you might still have problems due to inadequate ventilation. Although you want to control and filter the air coming in, you still need fresh air to renew the oxygen supply in your home.
Your HVAC system can only work properly if you schedule regular maintenance, including inspection, cleaning, and repair. Replacing filters and cleaning ducts is necessary to ensure that pollutants aren’t simply being circulated throughout your home interior.
Your behavior and lifestyle choices can have a major impact on interior air quality. For example, having pets in the house can significantly increase the dust and dander in your home. Smoking can also affect interior air, as can using toxic chemical cleaning solvent.
A failure to clean regularly can also impact your interior air as particulates and pollutants build up. The good news is that all of these issues are easy to address by simply making a few changes.
Now that you know common sources of indoor air pollution, you need to understand what they could cause. If you are prone to allergies or suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments, then dust, dander, pollen, smoke, chemical fumes, and so on could exacerbate your problems.
Poorly maintained HVAC and poor ventilation could also lead to an increase in particulates and pollutants in the air, not to mention mold and mildew problems. This, in turn, could cause respiratory and other health issues, especially in children and elderly inhabitants.
When you know what kinds of interior air pollution issues you’re facing, you can begin to take steps to clean up your indoor air, and ultimately, breathe easier.