Poor Indoor Air Quality: Health Effects and Improvements
When it comes to your heating and air conditioning unit, as a homeowner you pay more attention to whether the system is doing its job of producing hot/cool air evenly throughout the house. The systems do more than adjust the room temperature they can also regulate or impact the quality of air inside your home. Indoor air quality can occur when there is poor ventilation which can eventually lead to health concerns. It is important to check the air quality inside your home to prevent serious health issues. Keeping up on your HVAC filter and maintenance is key to keeping good air quality.
Health effects: Both short-term and long-term health concerns can be a result of bad air quality.
- Short-term: Symptoms can occur immediately after being exposed to the polluted air, depending on age, previous medical conditions and several other factors. Some symptoms consist of irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. The short-term effects are typically treatable or will reduce when the source of the pollution is identifiable and can be eliminated.
- Long-term: These effects show up after years of exposure to polluted air or long after repeated periods of exposure. It can lead to serious diseases such as; respiratory disease, heart disease, and cancer which can be severely fatal.
Ways to improve air quality: According to US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), there are three basic strategies to improve the air quality in your home.
Source control: It is important to first locate where the pollution is coming from. There are many different ways that your air can become polluted; asbestos, carbon monoxide, cockroaches, dust mites, floods or water damage, formaldehyde, lead and more. Once the source of the problem is identifiable, take necessary steps to decrease the pollution.
Ventilation improvements: Another way to lower the indoor air pollutants it to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. When running your heating and cooling systems, most systems do not bring fresh air into the house, therefore recycling the indoors air. Cycling fresh air into your home is important to keep the air pollutant free and fresh. You can do this by simply opening the doors and windows to create fresh air flow, indoors.
Air cleaners: Ranging in price and efficiency, air cleaners or air purifiers, are a great way to help reduce the impurities from the air. Depending on the filter the air cleaner has, it will reduce different kinds of impurities. The finer the filter material is, the smaller air particles you will remove from the air.