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Five Reasons Why Your Home Air Quality Is Important

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Home Air Quality

The average American spends about 90 percent of their time indoors. While much is discussed in the news about outdoor air pollution, we often overlook the importance of indoor air quality. It isn’t until we notice a musty smell in our house that we begin to consider contributing factors and how they might impact our well-being. Good indoor air quality is essential to our health and overall quality of life.

While outdoor air quality is largely beyond our control, indoor air quality is not. Measuring and regulating the air in your home can have huge implications for the health and safety of your family. Here are five reasons why indoor air quality matters so much:

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Recent events have forever changed the way we live and work. More people than ever before are working either full-time or part-time from home. Because people are spending so much time indoors, the air they breathe inside matters even more. With remote work here to stay, it’s important to monitor your indoor air quality and make adjustments to improve it if needed. For example, air conditioning vents in the ceiling need proper care. Failing to perform regular maintenance can lead to a buildup of dust and other contaminants, which can negatively affect your long-term health.

  • People Are Becoming More Health-Conscious

Over the last few years, more people have come to realize that their health impacts their quality of life. Indoor air quality is just one factor in a wide range of health implications, but it’s often overlooked due to a variety of other health concerns. As people adjust their lifestyles, it’s important to keep their indoor air quality in mind. Diet, exercise, and preventative healthcare can go a long way to keep a person healthy, but if the air they breathe is of poor quality, they will likely see their health begin to suffer. Asking questions like “Why does my house smell musty?” can help kickstart the process of improving your home’s indoor air quality.

  • Newer Homes Are Built To Be Airtight

Ventilation is one of the most crucial factors when gauging indoor air quality. Unfortunately, it’s often neglected in favor of creating a more airtight, energy-efficient home. The better a home is sealed, the less air can escape. This makes a space easier to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. While energy efficiency is certainly something to embrace, it’s important to take a balanced approach. Controlling for drafts is one thing; sealing off air sources altogether is another thing entirely. If you’re concerned about air quality in your home, consider the degree to which your space is sealed. A little fresh air can go a long way to help improve air quality and keep contaminants from accumulating in your home.

  • Asthma and Allergies Are on the Rise

Asthma and allergies are increasingly common. While there are many theories about why this is, indoor air quality is certainly a factor. Without fresh air circulating through a space, contaminants like dust, dirt, dander, and other debris are bound to accumulate. This directly impacts residents, causing sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and headaches. If your family members exhibit these symptoms, consider measuring your indoor air quality.

  • Clean Air Improves Quality of Life

Clean indoor air can dramatically improve a person’s quality of life. We often take clean air for granted and don’t realize poor air quality is an issue until there is a musty smell in our house. The reality is that clean air improves cognition and productivity, reduces the spread of disease, protects against the impact of outdoor air pollution like smog, and decreases environmental triggers for conditions such as allergies and asthma. When you can breathe freely, you feel more energized and can live a healthier life. Improving indoor air quality also means improving the lives of your family and pets.

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Measuring Air Quality in Your Home

Do you find yourself asking, ”Is the indoor air I’m breathing healthy?” If so, it’s time to begin measuring your indoor air quality. There are a few ways to do so. You can purchase an indoor air quality monitor for a few hundred dollars. The drawback is that while these devices can detect a concentration of particulates and indicate if they are at a hazardous level, they can’t distinguish what the particles are. This makes correcting a potential problem more difficult because you won’t know if the poor air quality is caused by pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, or other contaminants. The other option is to have a professional test the air quality in your home. A professional air quality test will reveal the following:

  • Humidity: High humidity levels can indicate the potential for mold growth around your home.
  • Temperature: Mold, dust, and humidity tend to be exacerbated by higher indoor air temperatures.
  • Mold: The level of mold spores circulating within your space will provide valuable insight into your indoor environment. High levels of mold spores can indicate a mold infestation you may not be able to see.
  • VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds): These chemical pollutants have been identified as sources of indoor air quality issues by the EPA. They are often found in building materials, carpeting, and paint.
  • Levels of particulate matter (PM 2.5): This is the measure of dust mites and allergens present in your space.
  • AQI (Air Quality Index): The EPA uses this measure to understand the potential for health problems associated with air quality.
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These are the most important measures to capture when targeting indoor air quality issues. Additionally, depending on the model you purchase, your air quality monitor may provide details about outdoor air quality and the levels of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide in your space.

How To Improve Indoor Air Quality

There are multiple strategies you can employ to improve the air quality in your home. A little preventative maintenance and insight can go a long way to help. Take these steps to improve the air quality in your home today:

Change Your AC Filters

HVAC units are constantly working to achieve comfortable temperatures all year long. As they cycle through the warm and cool air, they filter out common pollutants. When air filters fill up with dust and debris, they don’t perform as well, which causes your system to work harder. This can negatively impact your indoor air quality and eventually wears down your HVAC system, leading to expensive repairs. Regularly changing your AC filters can help mitigate many of the most common indoor air pollutants.

Curious about how often to change air filters? For most homes, experts advise swapping filters out every three months. If you’re not sure how to do so or don’t want to take a DIY approach, consider calling a professional in for regular HVAC maintenance.

Check Your Air Ducts

Air ducts work to distribute cold and warm air throughout your home, creating the most comfortable climate possible. Improperly installed or poorly maintained ducts can distribute contaminants throughout your space. Over time, dander, mold, and dust can accumulate in your ducts, contributing to poor indoor air quality. Take time to inspect your air ducts, or hire a pro to do it. If you need help cleaning them, hire a professional to get the job done right.

Use Cooking Vents

Our kitchens are some of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution. Gas stoves leak harmful contaminants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Electric burners also produce these pollutants, though at lower levels. When cooking, be sure to turn on your kitchen vents and open a window to filter the air even more.

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Keep Carpets and Rugs Clean

Carpeting and rugs do wonders to improve the look and feel of your space. They also act as their own air filters, trapping particles and dust within their fibers. Take a proactive approach and clean your rugs each week. Along with keeping them looking and feeling great, this will improve the indoor air quality of your home.

Keep Humidity Levels Low

Moist, humid conditions tend to breed mildew and mold. This can trigger respiratory problems like asthma and allergies. In some places, hot summer weather can increase humidity indoors. Work to reduce the amount of moisture in the air to curb the growth of mold and mildew. Dehumidifiers can do wonders to keep the moisture levels at a comfortable, healthy place. This will not only improve air quality but help foster a more comfortable living space for you and your family.

Add Indoor Plants To Freshen the Air

Plants act as natural air filters. Adding a few indoor plants to your home can make a significant impact on indoor air quality. They also enhance your home’s atmosphere. Smaller plants like lilies and ferns are great options, as are larger palm trees. Just be sure to select a pet-friendly option to keep your four-legged family members safe.

Let in Some Fresh Air

On warm spring days and crisp autumn afternoons, feel free to open your windows and let in some fresh air. While it’s reasonable to keep windows tightly closed when you’re actively heating or cooling your home, mild days present the perfect opportunity to circulate some fresh air. Just be sure to have window screens in place. You’ll want to keep bugs out and pets inside!

Invest in an Air Purifier

The odds are good that you’ve heard at least one person recommend an air purifier over the past few years. They’ve become more popular of late, leading many to wonder if they’re simply a fad. In fact, these filters have been shown to greatly improve indoor air quality. They work by eliminating many of the most harmful airborne particles. An air purifier can reduce the impact of dust, smoke, pet dander, allergens, and other forms of environmental pollution. There are models available at every price point, making air purifiers an excellent addition to any home.

When To Call an Air Quality Professional

While indoor air quality monitors can provide helpful information about your home’s air, they don’t always tell the full story. Radon and mold spores, for instance, often require professional intervention. It’s especially important to contact an air quality professional for help following a renovation or major repair. While humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers can help offset the impact of poor air quality, it’s important to get to the root of the issue.

If you’ve tried the aforementioned strategies to improve indoor air quality but are still experiencing issues, it may be time for a professional evaluation.

Read more: Air Conditioning Maintenance: A Guide for Homeowners

Shabbir Ahmad is a highly accomplished and renowned professional blogger, writer, and SEO expert who has made a name for himself in the digital marketing industry. He has been offering clients from all over the world exceptional services as the founder of Dive in SEO for more than five years.

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