Indoor Air Quality

In most homes and indoor working environments, maintaining a good level of indoor air quality is very important for the health and wellness of the occupants.

There are a number of ways to improve the quality of the air inside a building such as a home or office environment. These are explored in this article and in related posts in this section of the website.

What is Air Pollution?

air pollutionAir pollution is what we associate with "air quality". The Air Quality Index is a measure that allows us to know when the levels of airborne pollutants in our cities or towns are reaching dangerous levels.

Summer humidity can increase asthma symptoms and dangerous smog builds up in cities. The message is clear: Stay indoors to protect your health.

Indoors are where we breath the most polluted indoor air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and dust can all be found in our homes and offices, causing both short-term and long-term health problems.

Indoor air quality control should be a priority, as people spend 90% of their time indoors.

Research is showing a strong correlation between COVID-19 and low humidity or high levels of pollution. High CO2 levels are linked to viral infections. The higher the CO2 level, the more air was inhaled multiple times.

This increases the chance of inhaling aerosols inhaled by someone else in the room. Therefore, the CO2 concentration can be used as an indirect measure to determine if you are at risk of being exposed to viral aerosols.

It is more important than ever to be able control and monitor these variables.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

It is essential to know the air quality in your home so you can take smart actions like changing filters, changing source controls, and letting in fresh air.

An air monitor of high quality can give you accurate and precise monitoring of your air quality indicators. You can improve the quality of your air, your health, and reduce the risk of getting a virus infection by having a smart ventilation routine.

Simple Ways to Improve the Internal Atmosphere in the Home

improve air qualityThe first step is to endeavor to reduce airborne allergens, toxins and pollutants.

Winter can make your home feel warm and inviting, even though you may be able to keep the cold out of your home in the cooler months. However, this can cause respiratory problems for those with allergies or who have asthma.

Heating systems and poor indoor air can make your home more susceptible to allergens like dust mites, pet hair and mold spores.

It may still be too cold to open windows in the winter or early spring. This is why it is important to be aware and alert to possible allergy triggers.

Most of the things that cause problems don't smell. There is often nothing that can alert you to the problem in many cases.

This means that there is nothing else than symptoms such as asthma flare-ups, fatigue, sleepiness and digestive problems to highlight the possibility of bad quality air inside the home.

Winter months tend to cause homes to have a lower quality of indoor air because there isn't much fresh air coming in from outside. This means that allergens are trapped in the home.

Indoor Air Quality Improvement

You can avoid allergy flare-ups, asthma flare-ups and help keep your breathing healthy during the colder months by improving the quality of the air indoors.

Although it is unlikely that you can eliminate all allergens in your home, there are simple ways to reduce your exposure. These are some ways to improve the air quality in your home and possibly reduce your allergy symptoms.

Make sure your home is clean. A clean house is a healthier home.

Good indoor hygiene can reduce dust and animal dander. You should be focusing your cleaning efforts on ways to reduce pet dander, mold and dust in your home.

Here are some things to keep in mind:houseplants

Houseplants

Outdoor greenery is best left outdoors. Although indoor plants can be beautiful, they can also encourage the growth of mold. If indoor allergens are a problem for you, it's best to avoid houseplants.

Although some plants may be said to improve air quality inside by releasing oxygen and filtering the air, many people still have allergies to them. They can potentially cause more problems than they solve.

Filters

Make sure to change your heating and cooling system's filters.

You should change your filters every few months if you have forced-air heating. An electrostatic filter can trap dust and other airborne irritants, so they don't get recirculated in your home.

To remove any trapped dust, you might also consider having your ducts cleaned. Although this may not be necessary in all cases, it can help. This decision can be made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Air Purifier

Invest in an air purifier. You may be allergic to indoor allergens. One or more air purifiers may be a good option if you don't want to sacrifice your pet.

air purifierThese devices, especially ionic purifiers fitted with HEPA filters can be placed in the most used areas of your house to capture any allergens that could trigger your symptoms.

Although you won't be able completely eliminate these allergens, it is possible to reduce their frequency, which could help to alleviate the problem.

To prevent mold growth, you might also consider installing a dehumidifier to damp areas such as basements. Bathrooms, which can also be a source of mold growth, should be well ventilated. Also, clean up any moldy spots on walls, fixtures or in the shower.

Let the fresh air flow in. Open windows in cold months to let fresh air flow into your home. Fans in the kitchen can be used to move air contaminants.

Common Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality problems are caused by interactions between building materials, furnishing, activities in the building, climate and building occupants. Indoor air quality problems can be caused by one or more of these causes:

Indoor Air Contaminants

These are some examples of indoor air contaminants that are common and where they come from:

Poor indoor air quality is often linked to symptoms

People often report one or more symptoms of the following:

Many people notice symptoms appearing after spending several hours at work, especially if it is done indoors, such as in an office environment. They feel better when they leave the building, or go on vacation.

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, such as common colds and influenza. They are not always due to low indoor air quality. This can make it more difficult to identify and resolve indoor air quality issues.

Similar Health Issues

Certain building with poor indoor air quality can lead to a variety of health issues, including:

Sick building syndrome, is a term used to describe situations in which building occupants suffer adverse health effects, apparently due to their time in the building. It is not possible to identify the cause or specific illness.

Building-Related Illnesses is a less common but more severe form of illness that occurs when people become ill while living in a particular building. These cases usually have a similar set if clinical symptoms and can often be traced back to a specific cause.

Legionnaires Disease is a form of BRI that is caused by bacteria and can infect an air conditioner system in a building, is one example.

Some workers might react to several chemicals found in indoor air. Each of these chemicals may be present at very low levels.

These reactions are called multiple chemical sensitivities. Multiple chemical sensitivities are not recognized by many medical organizations. Medical opinion is split, so further research is necessary.

Are these symptoms caused by air pollution?

Not usually. There are many factors that can cause discomfort or illness in your indoor environment.

Noise levels, temperature, humidity and air movement, lighting and ergonomics are all common causes of symptoms. When assessing complaints, it is crucial to investigate all possible causes.

Conclusion

It is important to maintain a good quality level of indoor air in homes and workplaces to optimize people's health especially with regard to respiratory conditions.

Maintaining air flow from the outside is often the cheapest and best solution, as simply opening some windows costs nothing but provides the building with circulated fresh air. However, in the cold winter months, this is not generally a preferred solution as internal heating is expensive and people like to keep the heat in.

When it is not possible or viable to have open windows. One or more air purifiers can go a long way to maintaining the air quality inside at fairly healthy levels.

It is also important to maintain a clean heating and cooling system to reduce the spread of airborne pollutants. Common sense plays its part in keeping the air in your home as clean as it can be, by keeping the home itself as clean and uncluttered as can be.

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