Most of us believe that the air in our home is quite fresh and clean. But what many people don’t realize is that the air inside is often worse than the air outside. In fact, the air in your home could be up to five times more toxic than it is outdoors. So what is making your indoor air quality so harmful to your health? Here are the seven things affecting your air quality at home and what you can do to improve it.
Carpet, paint, furniture and other common household items emit volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs. Being exposed to large concentrations of these chemicals can lead to serious health effects, including respiratory illness, memory impairment and even cancer. Fortunately, you can purchase an indoor air purifier to remove these harmful particles from your home. You can also reduce the VOC levels in your home by storing chemicals in the garage and only purchasing products that advertise low VOC levels.
A home with hot temperatures inside will not only make you irritable and restless, but it can also impact your indoor air quality. Did you know that chemicals inside your home’s furniture and structure tend to leak at a faster rate in high temperatures? These airborne particles can greatly impact your health. To prevent this from happening, you can use an air conditioner to regulate the temperature inside.
A single piece of dust can contain pet dander, mould spores, bacteria and other particles that can cause indoor air contamination. If you or a family member is experiencing allergy-like symptoms, you can get rid of the dust by purchasing a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter). This type of filter circulates the air through a fine mesh filter to trap particles and clean the air. However, it’s often not strong enough to clean your whole house. Having your heating, cooling system and ductwork cleaned regularly can also reduce the amount of dust being circulated throughout your home.
Do you own a gas oven or space heater? If they malfunction, these can release poisonous carbon monoxide into the home. In low concentrations, CO can cause headaches and nausea, but high levels of CO gas is extremely dangerous and can even result in death. Installing CO detectors around the home can ensure the gas is monitored and the air is safe.
Your furry best friend can also impact the quality of the air you breathe. Pet dander from cats and dogs can get into the vents and remain suspended in the air for a long time. These microscopic allergens can also stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics and trigger allergens. Pet dander can also clog the HVAC filter and hinder the system from working properly. Make sure you clean your pet and all their belongings often, as well as the furniture they like to rest on.
The level of relative humidity in your home can also impact the air quality that you breathe. For healthy humidity levels, your HVAC needs to be set between 30 to 50 percent RH. Levels below 30 percent lead to dry eyes, skin and throat irritation, but once the indoor humidity levels exceed 50 percent, condensation will start to build up in the home and mould and mildew can form. Mould spores are toxic and can create respiratory problems and severe illness if not quickly addressed. So if you suspect mould, it’s in your best interest to call in a specialist to inspect, test, and remove any mouldy areas.
What You Can Do
Mould, fine particles, asbestos and dust, can all be toxic to you and your family. To improve your indoor air quality, it’s important to use HEPA filters around the home and have your interior inspected and cleaned by a professional annually.
Call us at Indoor Air Quality Ottawa – we will inspect the air in your home to make sure you and your loved ones are safe. We test for mould, lead, and asbestos as well as for gas and fuel oil leaks, water and flood damage, and more. Whether it’s your residential home or it’s your office you are concerned about, we can help. Contact us today to set up an appointment or visit our website to learn more about our services!