Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Impact Air Quality and How to Make It Better

Residences today are built with energy efficiency in mind. This entails more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep heating and cooling expenses down. While this is good for your utility expenses, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

Since air has reduced chances to escape, pollutants can accumulate and impact your house’s indoor air quality. In reality, your residence’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 specifically detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s discuss some of these everyday contaminants and how you can improve your home’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you envision pollutants, you may think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that decrease your air quality are common products. These things include chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, including 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 commonly used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, particularly when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other everyday pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

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

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

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

4 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t hard to boost your home’s air quality. Here are several recommendations from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

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 house.

2. Regularly Replace Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your home comfy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the kind of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped each month, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re not sure if your filter should be replaced, remove it and tilt it to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home deals with allergies or asthma, we recommend choosing a filter with a higher MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at eliminating contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever the temperature allows. We also suggest turning on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to get rid of pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a resolution to help your loved ones breathe more freely. We’ll help you choose the best option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 540-302-8645 to schedule yours today!

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