As we head inside for the winter season, we’ll be spending a lot of time in our homes, hoping that our houses and the air inside them will be safe for ourselves and our families. But how do you know if you have poor indoor air quality? Are you worried that you might be suffering from symptoms of poor IAQ, which can include headaches, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, coughing, or increased allergies and asthma?
Many homeowners throughout the Shenandoah Valley are learning about the term “indoor air quality” for the first time this year, but healthy air is more than just avoiding smoke or airborne germs. Here are a few things you might not know about indoor air quality in your home.
1. Indoor Air Often Has More Air Pollutants Than Outdoor Air
When you think of air pollution, you probably think of factories spewing smog into the air, or the smoke from the California wildfires from last summer, which made its way across the United States to your Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Elkton homes.
But outdoor air, on average, is healthier and cleaner than indoor air! According to the EPA, indoor air can contain 2 to 5 times the concentration of certain pollutants. While air pollutants have an easier time dispersing in the open outdoor air, they tend to get trapped in the confines of your home, where they’ll increase in volume if measures aren’t taken for air filtration and purification of your indoor air.
2. Candles, Air Fresheners, Febreeze…. Don’t Improve Your IAQ
While lighting a candle, plugging in air fresheners, or spraying some Febreeze around the house might make your home smell more pleasant in the short term, it’s not actually cleaning your air or decreasing air pollutants. In fact, these products often add chemicals, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and other harmful pollutants into the air.
3. Cleaning Products Aren’t the Only Potential Sources of VOCs in Your Home
It might not come as a huge surprise that aerosol sprays and liquid cleaning products contain VOCs—anyone who’s had to open their windows after using bleach or other disinfectants understands just how powerful these chemicals are.
But VOCs in your home can come from a number of sources, including some that might surprise you: Did you know that new furniture, carpets, and mattresses can all “off gas” chemicals that were introduced during the manufacturing process? That “new furniture smell” is creating contaminated IAQ in your Harrisonburg home!
4. Poor Indoor Air Quality Isn’t Just About Air Pollutants and Particles
Chemicals, smoke, VOCs, allergens, mold—these are often what people think about when they think about unhealthy air. But temperature and humidity play just as important a role in how healthy your air is. Temperature and humidity can not only lead to structural issues with your home, but they can also create ideal conditions for harmful mold growth.
Air-tight houses without proper home ventilation are especially susceptible to high humidity levels, as everyday activities like cooking, showering, and even just talking and breathing can introduce humidity into the air.
5. IAQ Issues in Your Home Can Be Coming From Hidden Sources
If you have an old, dirty basement, odds are you spend as little time down there as possible. But actually, these forgotten about or ignored areas of your home, especially if they’re unfinished, are often the original source of IAQ issues and can create long-term problems if left untreated.
Talk to Excel, Your Leading Local HVAC Contractor, and Solve Your Home’s IAQ Problems
Luckily, just because you have poor air quality in your home doesn’t mean you have to continue suffering from the health effects. At Excel Heating & Cooling, we have indoor air quality services that can help reduce air pollutants in your home and create a healthier indoor environment, including:
Powerful, high MERV-rated air filters
Whole-home humidity control systems (humidifiers, dehumidifiers)
Fresh-air ventilation systems (ERVs & HRVs)
A quality HVAC contractor should not only be able to keep your heating and cooling systems running reliably and efficiently, but should also be able to help you improve your indoor air quality and make your home healthier and safer for your family. That’s why if you’re looking for expert HVAC services near you, you should reach out to Excel Heating & Cooling.