Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is strongly connected to health and wellbeing. Humans tend to spend a large amount of time indoors. Breathable air that’s free of health threatening pollutants can lead to a higher quality of life, lower risk of respiratory illnesses, and a reduced risk of various chronic conditions.
For health and protection, homes and public spaces can be equipped with the best air quality monitor for mild and other environmental pollutants. With every breath you take in your home, you are inhaling more than pure air. You are also inhaling anything else that’s suspending in the air – including a wide range of gases, chemicals and other substances.
That is because indoor environments are filled with potential pollutants, making indoor air quality (IAQ) a serious concern. Understanding and controlling these indoor pollutants can help reduce your risk of indoor health issues. Exposure to low indoor air quality can result in a range of serious concerns. Depending on the type of pollutants and duration of exposure, poor air quality can cause short-term effects like fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea, confusion and irritation of the throat, nose and eyes.
It can also have long-term risks like mood changes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, etc. According to a WHO report, among some deaths, 27% die due to pneumonia, 27% ischemic heart disease, 20% COPD, 18% stroke, and 8% from lung cancer. Other than the health concerns, there’s the issue of HVAC systems. Particulate matter that hangs around your home can clog up filters, accumulate inside air ducts, and cling to coils and other HVAC system components.
This affects heat transfer and airflow, eventually impacting HVAC’s performance and threatening its reliability. That’s why it is essential to ensure your home’s air quality is as good as it can be. In this article, we will discuss air quality and its importance. We’ll also tell you why working with an air quality specialist like Aquarius, is your best shot at achieving a clean home.
Monitoring Indoor Air Quality
As with other environmental health risks, IAQ can be reliably monitored to assess the existing risk and improve the quality of the air. Monitoring equipment can be tuned to pick up signals of health threatening pollutants like volatile organic compounds that are invisible to the human eye. If you are like most people, you probably think about the outdoors – the waterways, factory emissions, spilled chemicals, etc.
However, experts say that the air you breathe in your house could be more hazardous to your wellbeing than the outdoor air in the most polluted cities. This is particularly true during the cold months when you shut doors and windows to conserve energy. Indoor air quality is the air quality within and around your home, especially as it relates to your health and comfort. Unless poor IAQ is suspected or determined, you and your loved ones may continue to inhale toxins and allergens, and suffer from the resulting issues.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
There are many sources that can be responsible for indoor air pollution, some of which are recognizable due to their odour, but there are many that fly under the radar.
Mould is a form of fungus which grows from spores that latch onto damp areas in buildings. It digests the materials it lands on, and can grow on many types of surfaces. It is prevalent in moist environments and is most common during the winter months and in more humid climates.
Many day-to-day products present in almost every home can cause indoor air pollution. These include:
- Cleaning agents and disinfectants
- Glues and solvents
- Personal care products
- Air fresheners
These products may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause issues such as eye, nose or throat irritation, headaches, nausea, organ damage, and even cancer in some extreme cases.
A major cause of indoor air pollution, environmental tobacco smoke, or second-hand smoke—causes over 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The inhalation of cigarette smoke is particularly harmful to children, increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), severe asthma, ear problems, and acute respiratory infections.
Many homes and offices contain space heaters, ovens, furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters that burn fuels such as gas, kerosene, oil, coal or wood for energy. As combustion can be extremely dangerous, most appliances are rigorously tested to ensure they are safe for use. However, if the appliance is faulty, it can produce toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and other compounds including hazardous aldehydes.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
So, if you are suffering from indoor air pollution, how do you improve the quality of the air you’re breathing in? Let’s take a look at a few solutions.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can be employed as air purifiers or attached to vacuum devices in order to remove dust, spores, mites and other particles from the air. According to The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology, an appliance can only be considered a HEPA filter if it traps 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. For context, emissions from a car starting up begin at 1 micron.
Vacuuming is extremely important to improve indoor air quality, especially if you have carpets and pets. It is recommended that you vacuum at least 3 times a week in order to keep dust levels low.
Why Indoor Air Quality Matters
The fact that there’s a higher level of dangerous substances indoors than outdoors is heart-wrenching. This is because people spend about 90% of their time indoors – with most of that time spent at home, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most of the things that cause poor IAQ are odourless. So, in many cases, there’s nothing to alert you to the issue. “
There’s nothing other than the symptoms that these toxins trigger – like dizziness, digestive issues or asthma flare-ups. In this case, you’ll know you have air problems. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve air quality inside your home, like cleaning, changing filters, investing in an air purifier, letting fresh air in, and keeping greenery out. Working with experts can also help out.
When your indoor air is clean, you enjoy the following benefits.
- Absence of Indoor Air Allergens.
- Improves your Health.
- Easy Breathing.
- Better Sleep.
- Balanced Humidity.