Many people believe that it’s better to stay indoors than to venture outside, especially with all of the air pollution that is going on. What they may not realize is that the air quality inside their homes may not be the best either, leading to respiratory infections that they don’t even know about.
Indoor air quality is quite important when it comes to your health, so knowing what it is and what you can do improve it is paramount. Here’s what you should know about indoor air quality and what you can do to improve it.
The Importance Of Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is strongly linked to overall health and well-being, so keeping it at a decent level can do a lot to maintain a person’s health. Because people spend a lot of time indoors, they’re breathing in a lot of air that has been confined to that building or house, unless they open windows occasionally. They expect that the air in their home is free of any health-threatening pollutant that can affect their quality of life, but that is certainly not the case. This is particularly the case during the colder or winter months when doors and windows are kept closed for months on end, allowing the same air to be circulated throughout the home. Homeowners may not know that they need Air Duct Mold Removal done, cleaning of their HVAC systems, or to change out the filters in order to keep the indoor air quality good. So how does one go about measuring indoor air quality?
How To Monitor Indoor Air Quality
This does involving acquiring additional equipment in order to test and determine indoor air quality. Such equipment are capable of detecting any pollutants that might be present in the air, especially any volatile compounds that can be invisible to the naked eye.
Without specific equipment, there are other signs you can look out for, such as musty odors in the home, ceiling condensation, or odor condensation in certain areas of the home. These aren’t conclusive signs, but they are signs a homeowner should take seriously to determine what could be causing these signs.
When Should Ducts Be Tested For Air Quality?
Ducts and HVAC systems should be cleaned when an inspection determines that the system is contaminated with enough particulate to create Condition 2 or Condition 3. Condition 2 is where there are settled spores that indicate traces of actual growth of mold; Condition 3 is where there is actual growth of mold, whether it is dormant, active, hidden, or visible.
The ducts and HVAC should be cleaned if:
- there is substantial visible growth of mold inside the hard surface of the ducts or other components of the HVAC system.
- the ducts have become invested with vermin
- the ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust, debris, or particles released from supply registers.
Otherwise, there’s no real need to clean the ducts outside of a regular cleaning schedule, which should be determined by a professional.
Can Air Quality Be Affected By Duct Cleaning?
The simple answer is that it can be. If you have particularly dirty ducts, then they aren’t doing their job properly in filtering out pollutants from the air. In fact, the collection of dust and har within the duct can actually end up making the air quality worse.
Having the duct cleaned by a professional can remove all of this dirt and hair, as well as have the filters cleaned so that they can be more effective at removing pollutants from the air. Although a professional cleaning company may affect the air quality by their presence alone with all of the equipment they bring, the work conducted will dramatically improve the air quality once they depart.
What Are Some Common Environmental Pollutants?
As mentioned earlier, ducts and HVAC systems can become clogged and allow certain pollutants to enter the home and affect a homeowners health. Some of the more common pollutants include:
- second-hand smoke
- VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- nitrogen dioxide
- lead particles
These pollutants are usually either organic or man-made. Mold and mildew are usually prevalent in humid areas of the home, usually in attics or basements, but can also be found on household furnishings.
Second-hand smoke is more prevalent when it comes to affecting indoor air quality, whether it’s in a home or an office building. This is especially important if children are present, as second-hand smoke puts them at high risks for developing health complications in the future.
What Are Some Of The Health Issues Associated With Poor Indoor Air Quality?
As stated earlier, poor indoor air quality can have both a direct and indirect impact on health. Air quality is mostly associated with heart conditions, lung conditions, and asthma in both the young and the elderly. Medical costs associated with poor indoor air quality can end up costing more than the steps that are taken ro keep air quality good.
Some of the most common health problems associated with poor indoor air quality include:
- asthma and asthma complications
- respiratory illnesses
- carbon monoxide poisoning
- scratchy throat
- throat and nasal illnesses
- moderate to severe allergic reactions
- scratchy skin
Short-term exposure can lead to certain illnesses and diseases, while serious complications can be the result of long-term exposure. If pre-existing conditions are present, any kind of exposure can exacerbate these conditions or create new ones altogether.
Indoor air quality plays a substantial role in a homeowner’s health, and should be monitored on a regular basis to determine if there is some cause for an adverse turn in someone’s health. Homeowners may believe these adverse effects to be simply allergies or colds, and don’t take the initiative to check the air quality in their homes.
If you notice that there are musty odors in your home or that you’ve started to suffer from respiratory issues, then it’s important that you consult a professional as soon as possible to conduct a home inspection of your duct work. Catching a problem early on will help to minimize health issues in the future.