February 23, 2018

Indoor Air Quality and Health

Most people think that air pollution only comes from outdoor sources like emissions from cars, power plants or smog. Not everyone is aware that the air from inside the home can be polluted as well. Most homeowners are uninformed that they are using household products and appliances that can pollute their indoor air. These items include gas stoves, heaters, cleaning items, tobacco and cigarette smoke, pollen and mold and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Ensuring your family’s safety from the effects of these pollutants can be achieved by installing a complete air purification system.

Bratcher Heating and Air Conditioning is a leading HVAC company in Normal, IL that offers innovative, modern ways to purify your indoor air.

Indoor Air Quality Defined

It refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. (Source: epa.gov)

Factors that Affect Indoor Air Quality

Your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) not only affects your comfort but also your health. A lot of factors have an effect on indoor air quality such as improper ventilation, high or low humidity, inconsistent temperature, and remodeling works. In addition, certain contaminants such as dust from construction works, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other airborne chemicals may result in poor IAQ.

Top Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Radon

Radon is a highly radioactive gas that can enter the home through the ground beneath it, well water, and building materials used to construct your home. It is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that can produce no immediate symptoms, making it very difficult to detect. A study found out that radon in homes is three times more extensive than the radon that initiates outdoors.

Secondhand Smoke

Cigarette smoke has over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These cigarette ingredients include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT.

Carbon Monoxide

Similar to radon, carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. This gas can be released into your home by tobacco smoke, gas stoves and heaters, wood stoves, chimneys and even furnaces. If you have a garage attached to your home, be aware that cars also produce carbon monoxide.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Organic compounds are carbon-containing chemicals that are found in all living things. Volatile organic compounds, (VOCs) are organic compounds that easily become vapors or gases. In addition to carbon, they contain elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and sulfur.

Formaldehyde

This is a colorless, acrid-smelling gas used in making building materials and many household items. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard, glues and adhesives, permanent-press fabrics, paper product coatings, and certain insulation products.

Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality has been linked to certain symptoms like headaches, confusion, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and even lungs.

Poor indoor air quality can also pose more serious health risks like cancer if you are frequently exposed to pollutants such as asbestos and radon. Such cases do not show immediate symptoms but frequent exposure to one or more pollutants can be critical to your health.

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

Maintain Your HVAC System

Since your HVAC system is responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout your home, it must be properly maintained in order to avoid the distribution of polluted indoor air. Annual maintenance ensures your heating and cooling systems are working both safely and efficiently.

Upgrade Your Filters

Upgrading your filters can help you achieve a cleaner indoor air. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can trap up to 99.97 percent of air contaminants in a complex web of fibers.

Use Humidifiers

An indoor humidity level of 50 percent or more boosts the growth of mold and dust mites. If your home has mold problems, consider investing in dehumidifiers. These systems suit in your ductwork and help lower the humidity in the air passing through, which hinders the development of mold.

Call the Indoor Air Quality Experts

Here at Bratcher Heating and Air Conditioning, your home comfort and safety are our main goals. That is why we work with some of the best manufacturers of air purification products to offer you a variety of air-cleaning solutions for your home.

Call us for your Normal heating and air conditioning needs.