“That is certainly a breath of fresh air.” Americans use this idiom when referring to something new and interesting. Sometimes, a real breath of fresh air is hard co come by. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists poor indoor air quality as one of the top five public health risks in America today. We spend up to 90% of our time indoors, and that makes indoor air quality even more important than outdoor air quality. Here is a look at how your health can be affected by poor indoor air quality and what you can do to improve the air in your home or business.
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Why do I need to worry about my indoor air quality?
Indoor air pollution can come from many sources. Tobacco products are the main source of indoor air pollution. Heating sources from oil, gas, coal or wood can release particles into your air. If your carpet or basement has recently been wet, mold and mildew particles make their way into the recirculating air in your home. Any personal hobbies that involve chemicals, products for household cleaning and maintenance, and dust and debris from construction projects also contaminate indoor air.
Once your indoor air quality has been affected, inadequate ventilation can make the situation worse by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute the pollutants. Higher indoor temperatures and humidity further increase concentration of air pollutants.
How does poor indoor air quality affect my health?
The most common issue stemming from poor indoor air quality comes from allergens. Allergens are substances that trigger the immune system and cause allergic reactions. Allergens include pet dander, dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen and more. Allergy symptoms including sneezing, watery eyes, coughing or hives. Allergens worsen asthma symptoms and affect those with pre-existing respiratory disorders greater than healthy individuals. Repeated exposure to allergens can result in more acute reactions, and you may find yourself particularly sensitive to an allergen than you previously experienced.
Chemicals and products that produce a scent such as candles, potpourri and perfume also affect indoor air quality. Most people are not bothered by intermittent exposure to scents, but individuals with asthma or COPD find it harder to breathe when inhaling certain trigger chemicals, and it may bring on dangerous exacerbations that require hospitalization to maintain proper breathing.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals that include chemicals used in copiers and printers, craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, photographic solutions, paint and more. New furniture, mattresses or carpeting can also emit VOCs for some time after purchase. VOCs can be up to five times higher indoors than out.
While governmental regulation has greatly reduced the amount of VOCs in today’s consumer products, they can still be a significant source of indoor air pollution.
What can I do to improve my indoor air quality?
The most important steps you can take to improve indoor air quality include the cessation of indoor tobacco smoking and regularly changing the filter in your HVAC system. Regular vacuuming and dusting can reduce the amount of allergens in your air, and opening the windows every once in a while will let in some outdoor air to improve circulation.
Regular carpet cleaning is also a great way to help your indoor air quality. You might not be aware that your carpet plays a significant role in determining the cleanliness of your indoor air. Professional and affordable carpet cleaning from Precise Carpet Cleaning can rid your carpet and floors of dust mites, particle pollution, pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, and dirt. The only thing you’ll inhale is clean.
Air duct cleaning from Precise Carpet Cleaning will also improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants, dust and debris that has settled within the ductwork of your home. Less dust and allergens also means improved breathing if you have a respiratory problem. Dirty air ducts don’t always mean immediate health concerns, but thorough air duct cleaning from Precise Carpet Cleaning can help to protect the health of those you love.