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

Houses today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes added insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility bills down. While this is good for your heating and cooling costs, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Because air has reduced chances to escape, contaminants can build up and affect your residence’s indoor air quality. In fact, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times worse than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these routine substances and how you can boost your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Everyday Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But lots of substances that affect your air quality are common items. These things include chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

  1. Cleaning products, such as 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 frequently used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other typical pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

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

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

In extreme situations, the EPA says VOCs can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t difficult to enhance your home’s air quality. Here are a few suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

Frequently cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, such as furniture, carpet and bedding, will help cut down on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your house.

2. Regularly Switch Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your home comfy and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the kind of filter you use. Flat filters should be changed each month, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and tilt it to the light. Install a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your residence has allergies or asthma, we recommend using a filter with a higher MERV rating. The greater the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also advise using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen often to remove pollutants and bring 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 solution to help your household breathe more freely. We’ll help you find the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 239-908-6991 to schedule yours now!

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