What Causes Indoor Air Pollution Problems?
Having a clean house and quality indoor air quality is something that many homeowners in Billings, MT think about throughout the year. This is especially true during Spring when allergy season hits, but having poor air quality inside your home can cause issues throughout the year.
Flowers and pollen are not the only sources of poor air quality, and your family could be suffering from air pollutants inside your home. Your family could be suffering from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and you may not even know it unless you know how the signs and side effects.
What is indoor air pollution? What are the leading causes of lower indoor air quality?
These are essential questions that can be answered directly. Indoor air pollution refers to the quality of the air inside of a building. Air quality issues are caused by a combination of factors in your home, including:
- The overall condition and age of your home.
- The type of activities being done and the presence of pets or other pollution sources.
- Chemicals used in the home for cleaning and other activities.
- Ventilation issues allowing moisture and debris to enter your home.
- Mold and mildew are often present in older homes.
- New carpets and furniture can contribute to air pollution, but they are easily overlooked.
Now that you know what could be causing poor indoor air quality that impacts your family, let’s take a look at who is most at risk of complications from air quality issues in your home.
Who Gets Sick Because Of Indoor Air Problems?
People often have different reactions to indoor air pollution. Different people have different reactions from different types of pollutants, and this has to do with the health of your family members. Finding out what caused the indoor air pollution is helpful when figuring out how to reduce any detrimental health effects that your family could experience.
While everyone will experience different health impacts from poor indoor air quality, specific family members have increased risk. You can wear a fabric face mask to reduce the risks associated with poor indoor air quality, but the best bet is to improve the air quality by removing the source that is causing the pollution.
While healthy people can get sick when exposed to poor air, babies, elderly family members, and people with pre-existing conditions can lead to prolonged health effects if they are exposed to poor air quality for an extended period of time.
What Symptoms Are Caused By Poor Air Quality In Your Home?
If you want to keep your family healthy and safe, you should also know what causes indoor air pollution. One of the best ways to ensure the health of your family is to be able to recognize the signs that pollution is having an adverse effect on your quality of life.
Some of the signs to keep an eye out for when determining if your home has poor indoor air quality includes:
- Coughing and sneezing
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Itching eyes, nose problems, and congestion
- Headaches, fatigue, and nausea
When in doubt, you should keep an eye out for the symptoms of poor air quality, and the good news is that most people recover from the symptoms after several hours outside the home.
If you or your family members show any of the symptoms above, try to get them out of the house for a while to see if they return to better health. If your family members start to feel better when they are at work or on vacation, then you may want to test your home’s air quality.
How Can I Prevent Indoor Air Quality Problems At Home?
Most indoor air quality issues occur due to chemicals, activities and ventilation in your home. In fact, out of all of the variables that impact air quality, ventilation systems can have the biggest impact on your home’s overall health.
Preventing illness and discomfort can be achieved by keeping an eye on three main variables, including:
1. Limit Air Contamination
There are many types of contaminants that can pollute the air in your home. This may include chemicals from cleaning products, tobacco smoke, pet dandruff and even dust.
Older furnaces and other heating appliances can emit exhaust fumes into the air, especially if the heat exchanger cracked due to overuse, and fragrances tend to linger when they’re captured by various household items. Contaminants can also enter your home From new products that are still off-gassing chemicals from the manufacturer.
2. Poor Indoor Air Ventilation
An inadequate ventilation system can increase problems with your home’s indoor air quality. Your home needs to take in air for heating and cooling systems, but you need an air quality system that is installed by a professional to ensure the system is set up in a way to keep your family healthy and safe.
Overall ventilation is necessary whenever there are chemicals being used indoors for recreational purposes as well. Aerosol sprays should be used only in areas where there is proper ventilation, and new furniture should be aired out in order to reduce the fumes from the materials.
3. Individual Health Issues
People who already have a compromised immune system tend to be more sensitive to these pollutants than individuals who are healthy. People who have respiratory problems like asthma are also susceptible to health problems.
These will clear up whenever what causes indoor air pollution is reduced. People who are healthy can also experience sudden respiratory problems when the air quality is compromised.
Most indoor air quality issues can be mitigated at some level. The heating and cooling system should have regular maintenance performed to prevent particulates from entering the ventilation system.
The entire vent system should also be inspected periodically to ensure that it’s working properly. Clogged vents will allow the indoor air quality to deteriorate. This includes the vents above the stoves and other appliances.
Other Sources That Cause Indoor Air Quality Issues
Evaluating various indoor air quality issues means looking at the trade-off that often occurs when people inadvertently create one problem in an attempt to solve another.
For example, many people will seal their windows and other apertures in order to make the home more energy-efficient. While this might lower the heating bills, it can also introduce the problem of reducing the air quality by inhibiting the ventilation system.
Areas, where the pipes have leaked, should always be suspect. Recent construction projects can also affect the air quality, but this might clear up if your ventilation system is working correctly.
Water damage often causes mold and mildew to build up in places that are difficult to see. Carpeting that has been exposed to water damage from flooding or leaks regularly contributes to air pollution.
Controlling Indoor Air Quality Issues
Identifying all of the applicable air quality issues is critical. Symptoms may appear when you are at a specific location.
If they clear up after you leave the property, this indicates that the item is the air quality from the building. Learn about the different organizations that can be contacted if the problem is occurring at a public facility.
There are places to call when the building is under the supervision of the employer or school system, for example. Workplaces also have numbers posted that can be called if there are concerns about indoor air problems or air quality issues.
Use the above information to understand if your home has indoor air quality issues so you can take the proper steps to protect your family for years to come!