Being aware of the quality of the air we breathe is an essential part of protecting our health. While air pollution levels outdoors are monitored, managed, and reported by experts, the quality of the air in your home is your responsibility to assess.
Some of the most well-known air quality hazards are mildew, mold, and radon. But overall air quality in your home can be affected by a wide variety of factors, such as the circulation of air, how clean your home is, the building materials that were used, and the function of each area of the home.
Read on to learn more about the causes of poor air quality, how to assess your home’s air quality, and tips for improving indoor air quality overall.
What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Pollutants & Chemicals
Chemicals such as formaldehyde, ozone, and carbon monoxide can be produced from paint, furniture, flooring and carpeting, cleaning products, and sometimes even the ground beneath the foundation of the home.
In addition, biological pollutants, including mold, fungi, allergens, and bacteria, can be caused by unmitigated moisture from such things as plumbing leaks and relative humidity, animals, and indoor plants. Inorganic sources can also affect indoor air quality, such as dust, asbestos, combustion, and lead.
Temperature, Air Circulation, and Humidity
While the above pollutants are somewhat obvious air quality hazards, there are other factors that can affect the air in your home. If the temperature is too warm or cool, there is poor air circulation, or if the humidity in the air is unbalanced, you’re likely to notice a decrease in the quality of air in your home.
Poor ventilation can cause low-level pollutants to become concentrated in certain areas. When a home doesn’t have a proper ventilation system, air pollutants are not removed from the air, and fresh, clean air is not being effectively circulated throughout your home.
When Should I Assess My Home’s Air Quality?
When it comes to deciding when your home’s air quality should be assessed, just use common sense. If you know you have issues with mold or poor ventilation, then it’s a good idea to get an assessment sooner than later.
Pay close attention to any conditions that you can see or smell, such as visible water damage or discolouration of the floors or walls. If you notice a strange or unpleasant smell in certain areas of your home, this can also be an indication that there may be something that is affecting your air quality.
It’s also important to be aware of any physical sensations or persistent health symptoms (such as a chronic cough, headache, or nasal congestion) that you may experience when inside your home, as they can be an indication of poor air quality and the presence of mold, asbestos, or lead.
How to Perform an Indoor Air Quality Test
While it is possible to purchase tests that detect certain air quality pollutants such as radon and carbon monoxide, a thorough test of indoor air quality is best left to professionals. A professional indoor air quality assessment includes initial observations, data collection, and testing of samples. The professional will then provide you with a thorough report of their findings and strategies to improve air quality based on their results.
How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
Keep it Clean – One of the simplest ways to improve the air quality in your home is to establish a thorough and regular cleaning routine. Vacuuming regularly helps to eliminate air pollutants such as dust, pet dander, dirt, and hair. Regularly washing bedding and drapery is also important. By reducing these pollutants in your home, you can dramatically improve indoor air quality.
Change your Filters & Clean your Vents – Furnace filters and air circulation vents can become very dirty and full of debris. Changing your furnace filter every 3-6 months and regularly vacuuming out floor vents is an important practice when trying to improve air quality.
Purchase an Air Purifier – Investing in a high-quality air purifier is a great way to improve the air quality in your home. Place it in the highest traffic area of your home, and the purifier will work to remove pollutants and irritants from the air.
Consider a Dehumidifier – If you are concerned about humidity in your home potentially causing mold or other air pollutants, a dehumidifier can be a great option. By reducing the moisture in the air, your home becomes less hospitable to the growth of mold and other air pollutants.
The Bottom Line
While we hear a lot about the quality of air outdoors, the air inside your home is just as important. Hiring a professional to test your indoor air quality is the best way to ensure that you and your family can enjoy a healthy and happy home for years to come. If you want to learn more about how to improve your home’s air quality or to book a professional home inspection, contact us at Building Insights today!