How often do you think about your home’s indoor air pollution?
Probably not a lot if you’re like most people, who tend to associate air pollution as more of a danger when going outside. But poor indoor air quality is more hazardous to your health than you may think.
According to the EPA, some pollutants have concentrations two to five times higher inside your home than outside. When you consider that a person spends more time on average indoors than outdoors, then the magnitude of the problem increases.
But how exactly does indoor air quality (IAQ) affect your health? Please continue reading to learn more about the effects of poor indoor air quality.
Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Before leaving the house, it’s easy to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) of any city in Kentucky or the rest of the US. But knowing the level of air pollution in your home isn’t as straightforward unless you avail of indoor air quality testing.
Unfortunately, you may feel the effects of indoor air contaminants before you’re aware of the threat. You may have a cold that doesn’t disappear, and your eyes, nose, and throat are constantly irritated. If you have asthma or allergies, you’ll wonder why these conditions seem to worsen when you’re inside your home.
Other short-term effects include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and confusion. Scientists have also linked poor air quality to “sick building syndrome.” This term describes what’s happening to occupants who only get sick after spending time inside a particular building.
What Makes You Sick
Indoor air pollutants can come from various sources. Some can come from outside and enter your home, while others are unique to the indoor setting. Indoor sources can include your furniture, cleaning supplies, or human activities like cooking.
But why do you get sick? Well, let’s look at some contaminant examples cited by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. You can recognize some of them as definitely bad for your health, like asbestos, allergens, and mold.
What about the other chemicals on the list? You probably didn’t expect formaldehyde, which is more widely known as an embalming agent, to be on it, but it’s there. Other surprising entries include lead, carbon monoxide, and radon.
What’s really alarming about indoor air pollutants is their long-term effect on your health.
We mentioned formaldehyde and radon, which are both known human carcinogens. In fact, radon may be the number one cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, according to the EPA. Another potent carcinogen is Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which can also damage your kidney, liver, and brain.
It’s a more frightening prospect for family members with lower immunities due to age or condition. Children, the elderly, and cancer patients are more vulnerable to these pollutants, both in the short-term and long-term.
How You Can Protect Your Health
Now that you’re aware of the harmful effects of poor indoor air quality, it’s time to take action. You can do certain things to improve the IAQ, such as general house cleaning and investing in air purifiers.
But to really make an impact, you need professional expertise. That’s where we at Once Choice Mechanical come in. We offer services such as IAQ testing, duct cleaning, and HVAC maintenance to ensure high indoor air quality standards.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.