Poor indoor air quality can have a severe impact on your health. It can be just as bad as smoking cigarettes. It leads to health complications such as asthma, breathing problems, and even cancer. The young, those with compromised immunity, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to illnesses. Here are some of the factors that can affect your indoor air quality.
7 Factors Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality (Image Credit: Pexels)
Outdoor Climate or Weather Conditions
The weather outdoors affects the air quality in your home. If you live in a city with high levels of air pollution, your indoor air quality will suffer if you don't have a sound ventilation system in place.
Trees and plants can improve your indoor air quality. They act as natural air filters, removing harmful toxins. However, if you live in a dry climate, you may need a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Building Materials and Furnishings
The materials and furnishings in your home also affect air quality. Paints, adhesives, and carpets can release harmful fumes into the air. Furniture made of particleboard or pressed wood releases formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds into the air.
If you want to improve your indoor air quality, choose building materials low in VOCs, such as vinyl flooring, hardwood flooring and bamboo. You can also opt for furniture made of solid wood rather than pressed wood.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system affects your indoor air quality as well. If your system is not maintained correctly, it can release contaminants into the air. Dust, pollen, and pet dander get trapped in your HVAC system and re-circulate throughout your home when you turn on the air conditioner or heater.
This can lead to irritating allergies and other health complications. To reduce the risk of contaminating your indoor air, have a sound filtration system and keep your HVAC system clean and well-maintained.
Household Cleaning Products
The chemicals in household cleaning products can affect your indoor air quality. Opt for green cleaning products made from natural ingredients or homemade alternatives. For instance, use vinegar and baking soda to clean your floors and surfaces. Green cleaning products are not only better for your indoor air quality, but they are also safer for your family.
If you have pets, they can also affect your indoor air quality. Pets can bring in allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander into your home. They can also affect indoor air quality by releasing harmful gases from their urine and feces. To reduce a pet’s impact on your indoor air quality, keep them out of the bedroom and clean after them regularly. Regularly have your carpets professionally cleaned, vacuum your floors and wash your pet's bedding.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are common causes of poor indoor air quality. They can cause health complications such as headaches, eye irritation and coughing. They also aggravate existing conditions such as asthma and allergies. To improve your indoor air quality, eliminate sources of moisture such as leaking pipes and hanging wet clothes. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the humidity levels in your home below 50%. Clean any mold and mildew from the unit with a mixture of bleach and water.
You may enjoy smoking a cigarette or two in the comfort of your home, but doing so can harm not only you but your loved ones. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrogen cyanide. These gases can cause serious health complications like heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema.
If you want to improve the air quality in your home, ask family and friends not to smoke inside. You can also install a ventilation system that will remove the smoke and other harmful gases from your home.
Improving Air Quality Leads to Savings
Your home is one of the most critical investments in your life, and you want to keep it safe for everyone. Taking care of indoor air quality is one way to do that. Implementing some of these tips may not only improve your indoor air quality but could also save you money on energy costs in the long run.