Why an Energy-Efficient House Can Influence Air Quality and How to Improve It

Homes today are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. This involves added insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep energy costs reasonable. While this is great for your utility expenses, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

Because air has reduced chances to escape, chemicals can build up and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In reality, your residence’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 relatives with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

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

6 Common Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you envision pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that affect your air quality are everyday products. These things contain chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They involve:

  1. Cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, including 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, especially when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other common 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 involve:

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

In severe situations, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t difficult to improve your residence’s air quality. Here are a few ideas from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Regularly

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, like furniture, carpet and bedding, will help cut down on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your home.

2. Frequently Change Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your home cozy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the type of filter you install. Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and hold it up to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma, we suggest installing a filter with a greater MERV rating. The greater the number this is, the better your filter is at eliminating contaminants.

3. Maximize Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever the temperature allows. We also suggest using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to remove pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a fix to help your family breathe better. We’ll help you find the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 352-414-4006 to book yours today!

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