Understanding, Testing, & Maintaining Clean Indoor Air
Cold winter temperatures mean more time spent inside. It also means windows and doors are kept closed, and less fresh air circulates through the home. Indoor air quality is a big part of the season that isn’t talked about as often as it should be. Indoor air quality, or IAQ testing, is the key to keeping your home and workplace comfortable, safe, and cozy.
Why Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Matters
Air is something we all tend to take for granted. More often than not, we don’t have to think about it. That’s especially true in our own homes, or spaces we inhabit every day, like an office building.
In the winter, pollutants and particulate matter accumulate more quickly in indoor air. This is because less outdoor air makes its way inside, unable to cycle out some of the inevitable staleness. It’s also accelerated by more people spending more time in space (and less time outdoors).
Whether in commercial buildings or inside the home, the quality of indoor air will drop if measures aren’t taken during the winter months. One of the best ways to make sure that doesn’t happen is to implement indoor air quality (IAQ) testing.
Here are some of the consequences of breathing stale, polluted air in the short term, as well as the long term.
Dangers of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Short-Term Consequences of Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.” Those effects range in severity from mild discomfort to respiratory illnesses.
Common consequences of indoor air pollutants in the United States include fatigue, greater susceptibility to catching a cold or illnesses, dizziness, and headaches. Sore throats, itchy eyes, and runny noses also commonly occur, along with dry, itchy skin. In the home, this can impact your ability to sleep.
Different people have different sensitivities to these pollutants. Pre-existing respiratory issues such as asthma make indoor air quality a big concern. Some are more vulnerable than others and will see their conditions worsen after breathing poor-quality air.
If you exhibit these symptoms regularly in a specific place, it may be due to the air you’re breathing.
Long-Term Consequences of Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants
While these are all unpleasant effects, some of the longer-term consequences are even more alarming. Years of exposure to indoor air pollutants can result in serious repercussions for your health.
According to World Health Organization, those health consequences include lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and acute lower respiratory infections.
These are worst-case scenario outcomes in environments well below acceptable air quality standards. Still, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of the air you’re breathing, whether at home, at work, or in public.
Regular indoor air quality testing is the best way to ensure your air quality stays safe. But aside from IAQ testing, there are other measures you can take to maintain clean air.
These are some of the common culprits to keep in mind when considering the air quality of a space.
Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
This mineral fiber was once commonly used in insulation, roofing, and other types of manufacturing. Exposure to asbestos fibers in the air can lead to lung disease.
Mold and mildew present serious health concerns. Sometimes mold growth occurs as a result of excess moisture due to improper humidity levels.
Carbon Monoxide / Carbon Dioxide / Nitrogen Dioxide
These fumes may be present without being perceived. They can occur from leaky, faulty, or poorly ventilated appliances or heating systems. IAQ testing is a strongly recommended measure to take if there is any question of exposure to these pollutants.
Volatile Organic Compounds / VOCs
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are found in common household items such as cleaning products and aerosol sprays. A concentration of these chemicals in a poorly ventilated space can induce similar symptoms to a common cold.
This is a highly prevalent VOC that’s often found in furniture or particleboard. Exposure can cause itchy skin as well as respiratory issues.
One of the more common and dangerous indoor air pollutants is radon. Radon poisoning is the second biggest cause of lung cancer after smoking. This is another great reason to investigate the safety of your air with IAQ testing.
This is a common indoor air pollutant that’s fairly self-explanatory. Smoking inside will always result in poor indoor air quality.
This is another common pollutant, though its effects are relatively mild. The best way to combat this one is to vacuum frequently and change HVAC air filters diligently.
Unsafe Heating System
If you have any concerns about the state of your HVAC system, a maintenance tune-up is crucial. Outdated or poorly maintained heating systems can sometimes result in a carbon monoxide leak, mold growth, or other possible issues impacting your safety.
Benefits of IAQ Testing
Indoor air quality monitoring and testing is a great way to counteract the negative effects of the pollutants listed above. Aside from avoiding dangerous health conditions, it’s also an investment in stress management, comfort, and productivity.
Poor indoor air quality can cause lethargy, irritated skin, headaches, and dizziness. While these symptoms are more inconvenient than alarming, they impact your daily life. The air you breathe is a definitive aspect of how you spend each day.
That can be either a positive or negative factor. With IAQ testing, you can get the most out of time spent inside.
Don’t Hesitate to Clear the Air – Look into IAQ Testing Today
Ideal indoor air quality makes a world of difference. Your wellness is always the right investment, and if you’re experiencing any mysterious symptoms, they might be environmental. IAQ testing will rule out any concerns you may have about exposure to harmful pollutants.
If you have any questions about ventilation, heating, humidity, or indoor air pollutants, reach out to a reputable HVAC technician. In South Jersey, you won’t find more reliable, cost-effective HVAC expertise than Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing.