We are often indoors. In fact, the EPA has determined the majority of people spend 90% of their time within a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times more polluted than outside.
Poor indoor air quality can have a negative effect on your well-being. That’s why it’s essential to identify the warnings of inferior air quality in your home, what causes it and how to fix it.
If you’re wondering how you can tell if your Des Moines home’s air quality is bad, our team of home comfort professionals at Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling can assist you. We’ll go through the problems you’re experiencing and provide strategies to make your residence’s air cleaner.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
When you envision pollution, you generally think of smog. But common items within your residence can produce pollution by the gases or particles they release into the air.
These sources involve:
- Carbon monoxide
- Cleaning, personal care and hobby items
- Combustion appliances, such as a furnace or stove that uses gas
- Dust, animal dander and pollen
- Excess moisture
- HVAC systems
- Recently installed flooring or carpeting
- Secondhand smoke
- Man-made building materials, including furniture made from pressed wood
Indoor air pollution can be exacerbated by a lack of ventilation in your home, as well as high temperatures and humidity. Recently built homes are firmly sealed for energy efficiency, which is a plus for your utility bill but not so fantastic when you have to have additional fresh air inside.
Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?
Because people respond differently to indoor air pollutants, you may experience symptoms immediately or later on. Your symptoms could go away when you leave home but come back when you return.
Some of the most common immediate problems deal with:
- Dry eyes, nose or throat
If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, their symptoms might be worse.
Constant or lengthy exposure can cause respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.
Other Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality and How to Make It Better
Your home will also signal that its air isn’t as healthy as it needs to be.
- Your residence is excessively dusty, especially close to the vents. It’s expected for your home to get dusty in a week’s time, but a lot of dust around your air registers should be troubling. There are other substances within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can affect your health, particularly if you struggle with allergies or asthma. A higher-quality air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help lower the concentration of dust and other irritating pollutants.
- Your residence has hot and cold spots. Your home comfort unit could be having difficulty maintaining proper temperature and humidity amounts. Or there may be air distribution problems due to your heating and cooling unit or ductwork. Our Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling pros can locate the issue and advise repairs or replacement.
- Your home’s air feels too dry or too wet. We recommend maintaining your residence’s humidity range between 30–40% for ideal comfort. If your home isn’t humid enough during cold weather, your skin and throat may feel scratchy. You might also have colds and other respiratory illnesses more frequently. If your home is too humid during the summer, you might have higher mold and mildew growth, both of which are bad for your well-being. You can take care of these problems with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which works with your home comfort equipment to deliver appropriate humidity throughout your residence.
- Your home has lingering odors. You might notice a musty odor when you get home. Or a cooking odor that just won’t disperse. Since it’s not possible to keep your windows open all the time, a whole-home ventilation system can get your residence smelling pleasant again. It substitutes musty inside air with fresh outdoor air.
Other approaches the EPA advises taking include keeping your residence smoke-free, buying carbon monoxide alarms and servicing your HVAC unit. Routine furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your units clean and efficient and might even help them work for a greater amount of time.
We Can Help Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
If you suspect your house has an air quality problem, give our Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling HVAC experts a call at 515-207-6569 or contact us online. We’re ready to chat with you about options and provide a free estimate.