Did you know the amount of indoor air pollutants inside many homes is often up to five times more than what’s outside. In some extreme cases, some pollutants can be more than 100 times what the outdoor levels are for the same pollutants. Here’s a look at what to consider when evaluating the air quality in your St. Louis, MO, home.

What’s Indoor Air Quality?

The term indoor air quality refers to the quality of the air inside a home or building and its effect on the health and comfort of occupants. We often think of biological contaminants like pollen, dust, dust mites and pet dander when it comes to indoor air quality. However, there are other types of pollutants to consider:

  • Tobacco smoke.
  • Household cleaners and perfumes.
  • VOCs and formaldehyde from paint, carpeting, flooring and furniture.
  • Radon.
  • Carbon monoxide from poorly maintained HVAC equipment.

Adding to the rise in homes with air quality problems is that newer homes aare designed to be more energy efficient with fewer air leaks and drafts. With homes being more airtight, once contaminants are produced or brought into a home, they remain indoors.

Indoor Air Quality’s Impact on Health and Comfort

Some pollutants are more dangerous than others and can cause serious health issues, including cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. Those most at risk of developing asthma, COPD and other lung problems from poor air quality are young children, elderly adults, and individuals with existing respiratory and cardiovascular problems. However, anyone exposed has a higher risk of health problems.

Signs that You May Have an Indoor Air Quality Problem

You may have an indoor air quality problem in your home if you smell a persistent odor or the air seems stale. Exposure to contaminants can often be confused with symptoms of having a cold, flu or upper respiratory virus. However, you might not be aware that you have a problem because you smell nothing or aren’t currently exhibiting signs of exposure to contaminants.

Common symptoms linked to poor air quality include:

  • Sinus congestion, sneezing and coughing.
  • Dry and irritated eyes, throat and nose.
  • Headache, dizziness and nausea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Exacerbation of allergies or unexplained rashes.

You may become used to having such symptoms and make other excuses for them. You may not notice you have them until you.re away from your home for an extended period and notice that you feel better.

How Can You Improve the Air in Your Home?

There are a few simple things that you can do right now to clean the air in your home. You can begin at the source by limiting your use of cleaning and building products that contain dangerous chemicals or give off VOCs. Indoor plants can also help absorb and reduce the level of contaminants in the air in your home.

The simple act of changing the air filter in your HVAC system can help improve the air in your home. It’s recommended that you check your filter each month and replace it if it’s dirty. If your air filter is clogged up with dust, pet hair and pollen, the air in your home isn’t being properly filtered and circulated.

However, there are even better ways to improve indoor air quality in your home. Improving the ventilation in your home, maintaining your HVAC equipment, and incorporating systems like air purifiers, air humidifiers, air cleaners and UV lamps can greatly improve your home’s air quality.

We Can Help Your Family Breathe Easier

If you’re concerned about the effect that filthy air has on your family’s health, we can help. Our team of experienced HVAC experts provides the services your home needs to keep your indoor air clean. Contact Averill Heating & Air Conditioning today to improve the air quality in your home.

Image provided by iStock

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