Why an Energy-Efficient Residence Can Impact Air Quality and How to Enhance It

Residences today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes added insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility bills affordable. While this is good for your energy costs, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

As air has decreased chances to escape, pollutants can build up and impact your house’s indoor air quality. In reality, your home’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s especially detrimental for relatives with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these common contaminants and how you can enhance your home’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that impact your air quality are everyday items. These things contain chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, like hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other common pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more influenced by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

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

In bad situations, the EPA says VOCs can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to improve your residence’s air quality. Here are a couple of recommendations from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your House Often

Frequently cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help reduce on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your home.

2. Routinely Switch Your Air Filter

This important filter keeps your house comfortable and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you use. Flat filters should be changed monthly, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be changed, take it out and tilt it to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your family has allergies or asthma, we advise having a filter with a higher MERV rating. The greater the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Maximize Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever the temperature allows. We also suggest using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to eliminate pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Call Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Norrell Service Experts has a solution to help your household breathe more easily. We’ll help you find the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 205-267-0023 to schedule yours now!

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