How can I improve indoor air quality?

sneezing due to bad air quality

What is considered good indoor air quality?

Over the years, over the decades, the outdoor air quality has changed, and not necessarily for the good. More cars on the road, manufacturing plants, and more has made the outdoor air quality questionable. In our homes and office, places of business, the indoor air quality isn’t good either. 

Outdoor and indoor air quality is bad today, but the indoor air quality is worse according to experts. The indoor air quality is affected by fabrics, the glue that holds our furniture together, the colognes and deodorants we wear, foods that are cooking, chemicals used for cleaning and production.

The qualities that make Indoor Air Quality good three things: 

  • Comfortable Temperature and Humidity
  • Sufficient fresh outdoor air
  • Pollutant Control from inside and outside 

The factors that most commonly cause Indoor Air Quality problems inside structures are: 

  • Lack of fresh outdoor air, lack of ventilation, and contaminated outdoor air coming indoor 
  • Poor upkeep of HVAC system and ventilation
  • Dampness and moisture creating high humidity inside building
  • Activities like construction or remodeling
  • Contaminated air

How does indoor air quality affect our health?

 The correlation between our indoor air quality and health has come forefront in many areas of the world. As more employers are paying out more and more sick days, they have realized that many times, it is the building they house their business and employees in that is creating the health issues. Sometimes the effect on an employee’s health may not show up until years later. 

Possible Immediate Effects

There are some effects that appear with an employee being exposed one or continuously during employment. The symptoms could be any of the following or additional symptoms not listed: 

  • Irritated eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Some employees find immediate relief by being reassigned to an area where they are not exposed to the pollution source if it is identified. Other immediate  effects on an employee’s health could result in asthma or other breathing issues. 

There are factors to be considered when determining these health issue and exposure to certain pollutants like age and preexisting medical conditions. Pollutants can effect everyone differently too, for example, one person may not be able to breathe while another person isn’t affected in an obvious manner. 

It can be hard to ascertain if the indoor air quality is the cause of come effects with certain health conditions have the same symptoms, like head colds and viral diseases. Doctor advise patients to keep a journal of the day/time and what they were doing when the symptoms hit them. This can confirm or eliminate the workplace. 

If the symptoms come on at work and dissipate after leaving, it is obvious that it is the workplace. If the symptoms started while working and have never eased or gone away, it is worthwhile checking the indoor air quality of the workplace. Especially if there have been several with the same symptoms. 

Possible Long-Term Effects

Some effects on a person’s health may not come to surface for years after their exposure has happened, whether it was one time or repeated exposure. These effects can include: 

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

All three can be debilitating or fatal, making it more prudent than ever to improve the indoor air quality in places of business and homes. The pollutants found in indoor air can cause several harmful effects and the uncertainty is  considerable when we factor in the possible concentration and time that the exposure happened that created these specific health issues. 

Again, no two people react the same to the same exposure of indoor or outdoor air pollutants. Research must continue so that there is better understanding which of the many things that are possible could affect our health after exposure pollutant concentrations of average amounts and types that are found in businesses and homes. 

What are the 4 major indoor air pollutants?

We all want to blame cars and manufacturing plants for our polluted outdoor air. We just know that is what is going to kill us all off, right? WRONG!  The indoor air quality of your home and place of employment could be what’s going to kill you. Here are four of the worst indoor air pollutants: 

  • Carbon Monoxide: An invisible and odorless gas. The human body stops using oxygen when exposed to carbon monoxide. You begin to feel confused, dizzy, nausea, tired, and your heart rate races. Things that can fix this is an inspection and any needed repair s to the heating system. If you’re using combustible appliances, make sure the is fresh air coming too. 
  • Radon: A colorless, odorless gas that is in low levels, coming from uranium inside the Earth. Increase the risk of lung cancer.  Have your home and workplace professional tested for radon or purchase a radon kit online. If radon is found present, it will require a professional to remove the substance. 
  • Nitrogen Dioxide: A corrosive and toxic gas that irritates the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and throat. Make sure all combustion appliances are professionally installed and used only as directed. Make sure there is a source of fresh air coming in too. 
  • Secondhand Smoke: Yes, that nasty cigar or cigarette habit is going to kill your loved ones before anything outside your home. What can you do about it? Quit smoking. 
clean air filter

What sources of indoor air pollution are the biggest issues?

Yes, we have these things in our homes, our workplace, anywhere we go today, and they are making the indoor air quality poor. 

  • Formaldehyde or Pressed Wood Products.
  • Lead 
  • Nitrogen Dioxide 
  • Radon 
  • Particulate Matter
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Fireplaces, Heaters, Stoves, and Chimneys.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds 

One last question: Are plants better than air purifiers?  If you are considering improving your indoor air quality with plants, you’re on the right track. There have been several studies on the air cleaning abilities using indoor plants and the results were impressive!  

Not only do plants take less horsepower than an air purifier, but they are an all-natural way that is cost-effective and adds beauty to inside your home or office. A bonus using plants to improve indoor air quality – they are considered therapeutic and can improve moods while increasing productivity. Call (240) 640-6578 today to get started on improving your indoor air quality.