Think Your Home Has Poor Indoor Air Quality? Here Are 5 Signs To Look Out For
You might not think of your home as a place where pollution reigns supreme, but the air inside your home can be several times more polluted than the air you breathe outdoors. Today's tightly-sealed homes can become a magnet for all types of airborne pollutants and allergens, from dust, pet dander and pollen to chemicals left behind by common household products.
Poor indoor air quality can have a sizable impact on your overall health and well-being. The following describes a few common symptoms that are closely associated with poor indoor air quality.
Constant exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potentially toxic airborne pollutants can trigger headaches and cause sinus problems in some people. These VOCs often include common household cleaners, pesticides and even gas-fired appliance exhaust. Aspirin may be able to alleviate some of your headaches, but dealing with your home's IAQ is the best possible long-term solution.
If you're already in allergy sufferer, exceptionally poor IAQ can make you even more sensitive to your allergies. If you've noticed that your allergies are appearing much more frequently than usual or that there suddenly out of sync with the season, then you may be suffering from a bout of allergy hyperactivity brought on by poor IAQ.
Persistent Cough and Congestion
As your body deals with the constant onslaught of airborne pollutants, you may begin to develop a constant cough or congestion. This is your body's way of neutralizing and expelling the foreign contaminants that are entering your body on a daily basis. Instead of reaching for the cough syrup, you may want to crack open a window for some fresh air, instead.
Certain airborne pollutants can induce a feeling of sleepiness or fatigue in those who spend most of their time indoors. Not only do these pollutants typically include certain types of chemical fumes, but they can also include dangerous and potentially deadly pollutants like carbon monoxide. Tasteless and odorless, carbon monoxide can be deadly in high concentrations.
If you're constantly feeling tired at home or if you suddenly begin to feel drowsy or dizzy, you should exit your home for some fresh air and have a professional check for any carbon monoxide leaks in your home.
In some cases, your home's IAQ can become so bad that it triggers a respiratory infection. This is certainly the case when it comes to young children and elderly adults - two groups of people whose immune systems are more likely to be compromised by an opportunistic infection.
What Can Be Done About Poor IAQ?
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help reduce the prevalence of airborne pollutants and improve your home's indoor air quality:
- You can start by increasing the amount of fresh air that circulates throughout your home. This can be as simple as opening a window to let a breeze in.
- Set your HVAC system to "fan" mode and let the unit circulate your indoor air. This lets the indoor air pass through the HVAC filter, trapping airborne pollutants that would otherwise remain in the air.
- Consider investing in a standalone HEPA filter. This high-efficiency filter is designed to remove over 99 percent of airborne particles and other matter in your home's indoor air.
- Consider cutting down on your use of household aerosols and other products that could potentially release VOCs and other harmful chemicals. Many of these products can be substituted for "low-VOC," "no VOC" or "fragrance-free" products.
- Any appliance that burns natural gas or propane should be serviced on a regular basis. Regularly scheduled maintenance can help reduce potentially harmful airborne pollutants.
- You can also opt for services like duct cleaning.
Following these steps can help alleviate many of your IAQ symptoms and make your home safer and more livable.