We think about summer as a carefree season. But for people who are sensitive to the effects of poor air quality, it can just be uncomfortable. As a result, consider adding indoor air quality testing to your to-do list. In particular, if you or someone in your home suffers from respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. Air quality testing zeroes in on the pollutants and problems that may be diminishing the air quality in your home. Plus, there are plenty of solutions to improve it – which is vital to keeping everyone in the house happy and healthy.
To understand why indoor air quality testing is so important – especially in the summer – learn more about how heat and humidity impacts air quality both outdoors and indoors.
What You Should Know About Outdoor Air Quality
According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the quality of the air we breathe outside deteriorates when levels of ground-level ozone or particulate matter are elevated. Higher temperatures and sunshine cause these pollutants to undergo chemical reactions faster. Yes, summer temperatures reduce air quality! Conversely, seasons with colder or overcast days helps reduce the impact of air pollution and poor air quality.
Sources of these outdoor pollutants include vehicle exhaust; industrial emissions that react with organic compounds in heat and sunlight; and factories, power plants, fires, and other natural phenomena and human activities that produce dust, smoke, dirt, and soot. Exposure can aggravate existing conditions like lung disease and asthma, and is linked to a number of health problems including:
- Heart attacks
- Early death
In fact, poor air quality is responsible for an estimated 60,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. You can see the air quality forecast for your location here – and limit your time outdoors on especially bad days.
What You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality can also worsen in the summertime. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the people who live or work inside those buildings.
Indoor pollutants that diminish air quality include:
- Excess moisture
- Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
- Tobacco products
- Some household cleaning and personal care products
- Asbestos-containing insulation
- Newly installed upholstery, carpets, or flooring
- Cabinetry or furniture made from certain pressed wood products
- Outdoor sources like outdoor air pollution, radon, and pesticides
Inadequate ventilation allows pollutants to build up, resulting in poor air quality and potentially causing health issues. These problems can be immediate, like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and aggravation of existing conditions like asthma. Long-term effects from repeated exposure to indoor air pollution include respiratory and heart diseases, and cancer.
Indoor Air Quality Testing and Solutions: Don’t Mess Around with Your Health and Comfort
While we can’t control outdoor air quality, there are plenty of ways to improve the air quality within your home and even your workplace. After all, research cited by home energy improvement company GreenHomes America reveals we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors!
For example, the first step to improving the air quality inside your home is to conduct air quality testing. Air quality testing helps pinpoint problems in the home that diminish air quality. Once those issues have been revealed through proper air quality testing – whether there is debris collecting the ducts of your HVAC system, radon in the air, mold lurking in some forgotten corner, or simply poor ventilation that’s trapping pollutants inside – it’s time to implement the right solution so that you and your family can breathe easier.
Solutions to improve indoor air quality!
- Zoning systems: Zoning systems provide a quiet and efficient way to section off areas of your home so you can control air flow, temperatures, and potential pollutants from reaching certain parts of the house.
- Air purification: Air purification (air cleaning) systems remove contaminants like dust, gaseous pollutants, radon, microscopic particles and more from the air in your home. These devices are helpful for everyone. However, they are especially vital to improving the health of homeowners and occupants who suffer from asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions.
- Duct cleaning: The air that flows through the ducts in your heating and cooling system does your home no good if its filled with dust, debris, mold. Therefore, a thorough duct cleaning performed by an expert technician is one way to improve indoor air quality.
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers: Installing humidifiers and/or dehumidifiers inside the home can make a big difference in comfort, as adjusting the humidity level can have quite an impact on indoor air quality. For example, fine-tuning the humidity level can help alleviate any dryness in the eyes, nose, or throat you feel when you wake up in the morning.
- Ultraviolet sanitizing: Ultraviolet technology helps to identify and eliminate mold, a common problem in many homes that can affect air quality. Residential ultraviolet units have proven to be effective in constantly moving air environments. For example, an effective HVAC system helps kill mold and bacteria. Plus, ultraviolet technology not only eliminates mold and improves indoor air quality, it helps reduce hidden odors in the home.
Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality
In addition to the steps explained above, the Indoor Air Quality Association offers simple, everyday tips you can follow to improve the air quality in your home:
- Take your shoes off: Remove your shoes upon entering your home. In particular, this stops outdoor pollutants from creeping in to the rest of the house.
- Wipe down your pet’s paws: Make sure Fido isn’t tracking in unwanted pollutants from the backyard.
- Wash your hands regularly – especially after being outside or playing with pets: Not only is this a common sanitary practice we should all follow, the habit helps to prevent the spread of pollutants that may have been tracked in from the outdoors.
Don’t suffer in silence this summer. If the air quality in your home does not provide relief from the heat, humidity, and pollutants found outside, call in a professional. Experienced professionals will conduct air quality testing and set you on a path to maintaining a comfortable, healthy home.
A.Johnson works with homeowners in the Capital District area fixing cooling, heating and plumbing issues in your home. From air quality testing and routine maintenance to emergency service, contact us today to improve your home comfort needs!