Indoor Air Quality Checklist: What Are You Breathing?
Americans are spending more time indoors than ever before, and if your family is like other Billings, MT families then your family members spend the majority of time indoors.
While adults spend time at work or school, most Billings homeowners spend over 80 hours of the week in their home. Some of the most common pollutants that impact the indoor air quality of your home are:
- Pet dander
- Harmful fumes from new carpet
- Dangerous household cleaners
- Gas stoves and harmful fumes
- Furnaces, air conditioners, and fireplaces
Since your family spends most of their time indoors and in your home, you need to make sure that your indoor air quality is healthy to ensure everyone’s health. Your family needs to keep an eye on things like locked doors and windows to ensure the safety of your household, but did you know that you also have to pay attention to the quality of air in your home.
While you may not be able to see it, indoor air pollution can cause significant health problems. Your family spend If you have air pollution in your home, it can cause cancer, lung diseases, and other disorders.
Before you can combat this problem, you have to learn the answer to, “What is indoor air pollution?” Once you know how air pollution works and the sources of air pollution, you can take steps to remove these dangers from your home.
What Is Indoor Air Pollution?
An estimated 3 billion people still use solid fuels to heat their homes. These fuels include things like wood, charcoal, coal, crop wastes, and animal dung. Because these fuel sources are inefficient and full of pollution, there are more than 4 million premature deaths each year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.3 million people die each year because of indoor air pollutants.
Unfortunately, women and children are particularly vulnerable because they are more likely to spend a lot of time near the home’s hearth.
Right now, 50 percent of pneumonia deaths that occur in children under the age of 5 are caused by indoor pollution. This kind of pollution leads to strokes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and lung cancer.
While you cannot see pollution, it can still exist within your home and cause a number of health issues for your entire family. Indoor air pollution can occur because of wood smoke, chemicals, pets, and other products. If you are suffering from pollution, you may develop short-term or long-term symptoms.
In the short run, you may notice throat irritation, headaches, eye irritation, fatigue, nose irritation, and dizziness. Because pollution affects your lungs, many of the symptoms are similar to asthma.
If pollution sources are not addressed, pollutants will continue to enter your home’s air and impact the quality of your indoor air quality. Even if you remove the pollution source completely, you can still suffer from respiratory diseases and heart problems years later. There are many illnesses can result from constant exposure to pollutants, and in the worst-case scenarios family members can result with strokes and cancer are also possible complications.
What Is Polluting Your Indoor Air Quality?
Other than finding out the answer to, “What is indoor air pollution?”, you also need to find out what products or fuel sources are polluting your indoor environment. Some of these pollutants have existed since human beings lived in caves. Combustion from wood fires can cause harmful chemicals to build up indoors.
There are other indoor air pollutants that many Billings, MT homeowners are exposed to, such as coal or indoor carpeting. Household cleaners are also known to cause indoor pollution. By avoiding pollution sources like pet dander and wood smoke, you can protect your family’s health and safety.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common pollutants that you should pay attention to if you notice health issues with your family.
1. Pet Dander
While your cat or dog is a part of your family, they can end up stirring up the air inside of your home. If your pet sheds then they will leave their dander throughout your home. Unfortunately, many people are allergic to dander, and different people react differently to pet dander in the home.
When someone is allergic to pet dander, they can end up developing coughing fits, wheezing, irritation, and anaphylactic shock after they are exposed to it. At the very least, most people will have red eyes and have some difficulty breathing depending on the level of an allergic reaction.
The best way to keep your family safe from pet dander is by cleaning your home frequently. You can use special vacuums to reduce the spread of dandruff and mop your floors to remove the dander if it is resting on the floor.
If there is someone in your household who is allergic to pets, you may also need to wash your walls to remove some of the pet’s skin cells. Be sure to talk to an expert if your family is suffering from poor indoor air quality caused by pet dandruff today!
2. Carpet Fumes
Replacing the carpet in your home is a great way to improve the value of your home while also making it more comfortable for your family. However, new carpet can end up leading to indoor air pollutants. The vinyl backing on the carpets and the carpet’s bonding glue release harmful chemicals.
These harmful chemicals can end up causing symptoms like nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Since children spend a lot of time near the ground, they have a higher level of risk than adults do.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners ventilate their homes for at least three days following the installation of new carpeting. Other than opening the windows and using a fan, you can also use an air purifier. Homeowners should remember that a carpet can release chemicals for up to five years after it is installed.
3. Harmful Household Cleaners
Household cleaners and disinfectants can lead to indoor air pollution. Many of these substances can create harmful compounds when they interact with the air. In research studies, scientists have found that respiratory issues like asthma were more common if someone worked as a professional cleaner for more extended periods of time.
Sprays like air fresheners, glass cleaners, and furniture sprays seem to be worse than just liquid products.
4. Gas Stoves Cause Health Problems
If you use a natural gas range, you can end up developing health problems. Natural gas is a source of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. These types of indoor pollution are more common in homes that use gas ovens.
During the winter, people are more likely to suffer from these pollutants because they are less likely to open their windows. By utilizing a ventilator hood, you can reduce your family’s chances of suffering from side effects.
5. Furnaces, Fireplaces and Air Conditioning Units
Modern gas fireplaces isolate combustion and remove particulates without circulating with indoor air. However, many older fireplaces require indoor air for combustion.
While many homes use coal or wood as a heat source, these substances are significant sources of indoor air pollution. Soot causes more than half of all pneumonia deaths in children who are under the age of five.
Unfortunately, about half of all the world’s population has poor indoor air quality because of soot. Modernizing your heating source can help you prevent major respiratory issues.
Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality Today
If you are concerned about your indoor air quality, there are a few things you can do. Changing your heating source is a quick, easy way to improve your air quality. You can also reduce the chemicals in the air you breathe by switching from carpeted floors to wood flooring.
It is also essential to avoid adding new sources of pollution to your home. While air fresheners smell nice, some air fresheners release substances that are harmful to your lungs.
To avoid this problem, throw out your air fresheners. You can also invest in an air purifier. With the right filtration options, you can remove indoor air pollution and enjoy better respiratory health.