When most of us think about air pollution, we usually consider outdoor pollutants like exhaust fumes from combustion engines and smoke from factory smokestacks. Yet it may surprise you to learn that indoor air can be up to 700% dirtier than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Indoor air pollution is a problem that affects all households. Poor indoor air quality can exacerbate allergies, asthma and other respiratory ailments, especially among children and the elderly. Symptoms of poor air quality can include labored breathing, coughing, eye-watering and fatigue.
Maintaining good air quality is important for the health and well-being of you and your family. Here’s a look at the most common causes of poor air quality and how you can make improvements in your home.
Top Three Factors That Contribute to Poor Air Quality
There are several factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality, including:
1. Household Chemicals
A common source of indoor air pollution is the toxic chemicals that are found in many household items and cleaning supplies. These can include pesticides and polyurethane, which is used to seal floors from water damage. Everyday household cleaners and disinfectant products can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases emitted from certain liquids or solids, including liquid cleaners and aerosol sprays.
2. Mold and Mildew
Dampness can create another problem when it comes to indoor air quality: mildew and mold. Any place where moisture can concentrate is a breeding ground for mold, which can deliver spores into the air. Bacteria can also create microscopic airborne particles. Breathing in these particles and allergens can cause inflammation in the respiratory system.
3. Pets and Pests
We love our pets like family, but their hair and dander can result in indoor allergies as well as poor air quality. Dander is microscopic and extremely light, so it can remain in the air for a long time. Other contaminants like pollen, dust mites and even waste from pests can all degrade a home’s air quality.
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Central Pennsylvania is a heavily populated area with an abundance of truck traffic and plenty of manufacturing and industrial businesses. With all of these major contributors of pollutants we, as individuals, can still take steps to do our part. Our indoor air however is much easier for us to manage, it’s a good thing because it is estimated that we spend upwards of 90% of our lives indoors.
Outdoor Air Quality Improvement Tips
- Carpool, bike, or walk when possible
- Buy local produce and other goods to reduce truck traffic
- Do not burn trash
- Reduce overall home energy use
Indoor Air Quality Improvement Tips
- Do not smoke or allow smoking indoors
- Use non-toxic cleaners (vinegar and baking soda work wonders)
- Avoid aerosol sprays and plug-in air fresheners
- Change air filters regularly
- Ventilate your home
- Control humidity to prevent mold and dust mites
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Test for radon
- Bring the outdoors in with some indoor plants
Regular maintenance and upkeep are critical to the quality of your home’s air. Using a vacuum that is HEPA certified, changing air filters in the HVAC system, and avoid using harsh chemicals for cleaning and for anything else indoors are easy tasks that will go a long way. Controlling humidity year-round is another big improvement that will help to improve indoor air quality.
If you live in Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, Camp Hill or another area of Central PA, Zimmerman Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We offer complete air filtration and duct cleaning services to help improve airflow and purify the air so you and your family can breathe better.
We can design a customized plan to improve your air quality. We can clear all the dust out of your ductwork, plug gaps where contaminants may be entering the home, install an active air cleaner and much more. Our technicians are NATE-certified and continually trained to provide the best possible service. We can also arrange regularly scheduled maintenance visits to ensure everything is working as planned.
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