Tags – Factors that Affect Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality can have a serious impact on your health.
In fact, it can be worse for you than outdoor air pollution!
That’s why it’s important to understand the factors that affect indoor air quality and take steps to improve it.
In this blog post, we will discuss what indoor air pollution is, the symptoms and health effects of poor indoor air quality and the top five factors that affect it.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
You can’t see or hear it, but you can sometimes smell it.
Indoor air pollution may be caused by a wide range of chemicals, manufactured products and even pets.
It might aggravate, irritate, and in certain cases cause critical harm.
Some of the pollutants have been in our homes since our cave-dwelling days, i.e. combustion from fire can create harmful chemicals.
Others have only been exposed to our houses in recent times, and some come from the natural environment, including germs and mould.
All together, indoor air pollution kills 3.8 million people worldwide each year, including 3.3 million deaths from diseases like stroke and lung cancer, according to the WHO.
Identifying indoor air pollution, no matter what the cause or where it originates, can assist you and your loved ones in breathing more easily, as well as reduce your risk of more serious health problems.
Indoor Air Pollution Symptoms and Health Effects
Pollutants can cause a wide range of short-term and long-term health problems.
In the short term, exposure to high concentrations of indoor air pollution can cause:
- Eye irritation
- Nose and throat irritation
Sometimes the symptoms resemble asthma, while others resemble cold symptoms, which is why it can be difficult to recognise the problem.
In the long term, health problems can be more serious – years after being exposed, some people can suffer:
- Heart problems
- Respiratory sickness
It’s worth noting, however, that the causes of these problems are largely unknown. Furthermore, because some people are sensitive to particulate pollutants, determining what chemicals cause these issues may be difficult.
5 Factors That Affect Indoor Air Quality
Pay attention to these five factors which might have an impact on the quality of your indoor air, and learn what you can do to address them.
1. Poor Ventilation
A home with bad ventilation may cause foul air to recirculate throughout the house.
A poorly ventilated house may cause pollen and dust accumulation, resulting in respiratory issues, especially for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
It’s critical to provide fresh air into your house, so if the weather permits, consider opening your windows and doors.
You may also quickly remedy this problem by installing a new ventilation system in your house.
No matter where you live, humidity is unavoidable.
Indoor humidity may occur for a variety of reasons, such as water leaks, moisture seeping in through crawl spaces, or dampness trapped in the air that enters from the outside.
Ideally, a home should have 30-50% relative humidity, and if your humidity level is higher than 50%, you could experience biological growth.
Consequently, this can cause shortness of breath, lung irritation and respiratory distress, in which case you should consider buying a dehumidifier to combat this issue.
In contrast, if your humidity levels dip below 30%, you could experience skin irritation, throat soreness, and dry eyes, so to combat this, invest in a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.
Mould in your house may have severe consequences: coughing fits, sneezing, dizziness, fever, and tiredness are just a few of the health issues caused by mould.
In severe cases, digestive difficulties are also possible, as well as asthma attacks.
The most common cause of mould is high humidity.
If you leave water in your house or if your surfaces are damp or water-damaged, these may become attractive breeding grounds for mould.
- There are a few easy ways to avoid this problem:
- Make sure any exhaust fans from the kitchen or bathroom are vented outdoors
- Keep tight spaces ventilated so moisture can’t accumulate
- If your carpets or other absorbent fabrics become water-damaged, clean and dry them as soon as possible
And if you do need to use a humidifier, make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions about how to keep the unit clean.
Dust is a combination of both indoor and outdoor particles, such as soil, pet dander, and dead skin; it floats in the air with other airborne particles and falls on surfaces.
When you breathe in small amounts of dust, you might sneeze, have a stuffy nose or throat, or have itchy eyes, ears, or mouth.
However in large doses, individuals with high dust allergies can experience shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or even sleep deprivation as a result of difficulties breathing.
Remove as much dust from your house as possible using simple steps like vacuuming frequently, using microfiber cloths to clean surfaces, and changing your bedding on a weekly basis.
Moreover, you can install air filters in your home that circulate the air through a fine mesh then traps the particles – just make sure you clean these regularly to get rid of any buildup.
5. Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from new flooring or paint, as well as endless other household cleaning products can contribute to poor indoor air quality.
VOCs are present in all homes and, while some amount of VOCs is unavoidable, a larger amount can cause health problems such as fatigue, allergies and nausea.
To keep everyone safe from VOCs, seek for items that are VOC-free and make sure you have enough ventilation when using products that emit these dangerous chemicals.
Use paint and adhesives outside as much as possible, and make sure to seal any VOC-emitting goods – if you can, store them in the garage, shed or external storage spaces.
The Solution? Ventilation!
Proper ventilation helps to minimise a large number of indoor pollutants from your home, school, or office. It’s even been linked to better performance and fewer absences at school and work.
This is a fantastic option for most people, but there may be circumstances where it isn’t suitable – for example, areas with high pollution levels may be introducing new pollutants into the air.
Despite that though, ventilation has been shown to reduce dust mites, mould, and other organisms that contribute to indoor air pollution.
For help with improving your home’s air quality, get in touch with us today.
In the meantime, take a look at our air conditioning units here.
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