Have you been sneezing and coughing more than usual but can’t blame it on the weather or season? If you or your family are experiencing sudden health effects, the answer might be the quality of your air. When your home is clean and smelling good, your air quality may seem like the least of your worries.
However, indoor air quality testing is just as essential as having a functioning smoke alarm. Read on to learn all about bad indoor air quality and what you can do to improve it!
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can come from a wide variety of sources. The worst part is, even if you can’t smell or see anything different, the quality of your air could be detrimental to your health. Here are a few sources you may not have considered that lead to poor indoor air quality:
New carpeting tends to always release heavy fumes once it’s installed. Known as off-gassing, the chemicals come from the glue holding the carpet to the floor underneath. The EPA recommends that for the first three days you use heavy ventilation to offset its effects or even leave home for a few days.
After the first few months, the majority of the off-gassing will be finished, but it can take as many as five years for the chemicals to be completely released. Children who suffer from allergies or asthma may have a particularly rough time adjusting. You can experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Asthma-like symptoms
Paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While most VOCs disappear once paint is dry, some linger. For particularly sensitive individuals, this can still cause headaches.
Today, most manufacturers are aware of the effect VOCs have on people’s health. Some offer paint with no VOCs while others have a very minute amount. However, these paints do tend to be pricier.
Household Cleaners and Disinfectants
Some household cleaners, disinfectants, and sanitizers also hold trace amounts of VOCs that sensitive bodies can detect. Sprays like glass cleaners and air fresheners are far more likely to cause allergic reactions than any other kind of cleaner.
Everyone has the right to smoke in their own home, but people who smoke in indoor areas around other non-smokers are doing a large amount of harm. In fact, secondhand smoke is deadly.
Children are especially prone to secondhand smoke. They can form respiratory problems and even ear infections. Asthma attacks become more frequent. Adults, on the other hand, become more likely to form lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
It may sound like a sci-fi novel scenario, but radon leaks are a fairly common problem for some households. Radon is an odorless gas that forms from the breakdown of uranium. It can creep into households that have cracked foundations or a basement that allow it access.
Since this gas can’t be detected by any of our senses, it takes a special test to determine if any radon is present.
Residual pesticides can collect on our furniture. It can also find its way inside from old, contaminated soil or dust. Of course, recently used pesticides can find their way inside our homes from the air as well.
Long exposure to pesticides can lead to issues such as nerve damage, an increased risk for cancer, and irritation of our eyes, ears, or throat.
High humidity and standing water are the breeding grounds for mold. Mold in and out of your home should be avoided at all costs. It can lead to issues such as coughing and sneezing fits, dizziness, fever, asthma attacks, and even digestive distress. The EPA has several easy suggestions on how to avoid mold. You also may need mold testing to determine how serious the issue is.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Now that you know some of the main sources of poor indoor air quality, how do you start improving it? Although there may be a specific problem that needs to be addressed by professions, such as radon leaks, here are a few general things you can do to improve the quality of your air today:
Change Your Filters
These are easy to forget, but set a calendar alert on your phone and you’ll be well on your way to far fresher air. Your AC system doesn’t just cool and heat your air–it’s other main job is to remove pollutants. It can’t do this effectively if your filters are clogged with months or even years of dust and debris.
Check Air Ducts
You also have the option of doing the extra step of hiring a professional to check your air ducts. The air ducts in your home distribute cool, clean air from one room of your home to another. However, if they aren’t clean due to poor installation, they could be spreading dust and dirt instead.
Clean Your Rugs and Carpets
This is especially important if you have pets. Rugs and carpets are natural places where dust and dirt gather–even if you can’t see it. Schedule off a small portion of time each week to do a quick vacuum and you’ll see and feel how much cleaner your home becomes!
Indoor Air Quality Testing for Your Family's Health
Are you afraid you’re being exposed to mold and other toxins you can’t see or smell in your own home? Schedule an appointment with us today! Our environmental and mold indoor air quality testing accurately detects property defects quickly and accurately