Why an Energy-Efficient House Can Affect Air Quality and How to Make It Better

Homes today are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. This entails extra insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep heating and cooling expenses down. While this is good for your utility bill, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Because air has fewer chances to escape, chemicals can build up and affect your home’s indoor air quality. In fact, your residence’s air can actually be 2–5 times worse 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 conditions or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these routine pollutants and how you can improve your residence’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you might think about smog or tobacco smoke. But lots of substances that decrease your air quality are common items. These things contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

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

Other common pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more influenced by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure entail:

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

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

4 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t hard to enhance your residence’s air quality. Here are a couple of suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help reduce on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your home.

2. Regularly Replace Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your residence comfortable and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the type of filter you install. Flat filters should be replaced each month, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be swapped, remove it and hold it up to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

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

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also recommend running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to eliminate pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Call Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Midland Air Service Experts has a fix to help your loved ones breathe more easily. We’ll help you select the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 803-399-7208 to book yours right away!

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