Indoor air pollution occurs when homes have poor ventilation, according to the World Health Organization. Globally, 4.3 million individuals pass away due to substantial indoor air pollution in their own homes. While most instances of poor indoor air quality do not result in severe health issues, it does negatively impact your quality of life. 

Ensuring you have better indoor air quality can help eliminate the risk of these issues. Knowing what causes issues with your IAQ and how you can combat against it will help improve the air you breathe every day in your home. 

Follow this guide to help enhance your IAQ: 

Why does IAQ matter? 

Poor IAQ may lead to a number of issues such as infections, lung cancer, asthma and other ailments, according to the American Lung Association. Less serious side effects caused by poor IAQ include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Nasal congestion 
  • Fatigue 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 

Ensuring your air is clean can promote a healthier lifestyle and keep you and your family safer. 

What causes poor IAQ? 

There are a number of factors that may contribute to an unsafe environment inside of your home. Some elements that impact your IAQ include:

  • Mold 
  • Animal dander 
  • Dust mites
  • Bacteria 
  • Any fume creating fuels
  • Household cleaning supplies
  • Radon 
  • Pesticides 
  • Outdoor air pollution

 In addition, secondhand smoke from tobacco products contributes to poor IAQ. Containing 200 known poisons, the chemicals and toxins released into the air from a cigarette can pose a substantial health risk to those who breathe in the byproducts. Nearly 3,000 nonsmokers pass away each year due to lung cancer-related deaths. 

Secondhand smoke contributes to pneumonia, ear infections, asthma and lower respiratory tract infections in infants. 

During the spring season especially, pollen is another pollutant that contaminates your IAQ. Additionally, a poor ventilation system in your home may impact the volume of factors contributing to a poor quality of air inside your home. 

How can I improve my IAQ? 
​Eliminating or cutting down the use of certain harmful elements or chemicals can keep your air safer and more breatheable, according to Greenguard Certification. By implementing certain rules at your home you can help enhance the safety of your house. 

Ask individuals who smoke to do so outside and away from vents or windows to ensure it does not enter the home. Also do not let other chemical pollutants enter your home. Ensure cars, mowers or other gasoline-powered engines do not idle in your garage if it is attached to your home.  

If you regularly embark on projects in your home that require painting or gluing, such as crafting or the creation of art, consider creating a studio in a shed or improving the ventilation where you currently begin your artistic projects. The fumes given off by glue and paint impact your IAQ negatively. 

Controlling the moisture in your home is another way you can improve the quality of your air indoors. Consider investing in a dehumidifier and fix any and all leaks that occur. Not addressing these conditions promptly may lead to the growth of mold inside [where?]and the spores lead to poor IAQ. 

What risks does mold present? 
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold can produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances. Some individuals may have more severe reactions to the presence of mold in the home. Some common side effects of mold exposure include: 

  • Irritated eyes
  • Runny nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Skin rashes 

In some cases, mold can have lasting effects on your health. Regularly conduct a home inspection to check for leaks, excessive moisture and the presence of mold in your home. If you smell but do not see mold it may be hidden on the back side of dry wall or inside ceiling tiles. Check your roof and the side of your home for leaks that may feed the growth of this element. Make sure you act quickly and fix the source of the leak if possible. It is also important to regularly clean your roof gutters and repair them if necessary. 

Hire an experienced professional who knows how to deal with mold if you suspect your home has hidden mold. If you attempt to remove it from a hidden area, you run the risk of sending a substantial volume of spores into your home and further contaminating your IAQ. 

If you decide to clean the mold yourself it is important that you limit exposure and properly protect yourself. Wear a respirator, goggles and gloves to keep yourself protected from dangerous mold spores.

To ensure a complete clean up of all mold, having a professional inspect the area is a beneficial investment. If you do it yourself, make sure no visible mold is present and the odor is completely gone. Also keep an eye out for new growth and ensure the area remains as dry as possible. If you have any doubt about the removal of mold, reach out to a professional and request his or her opinion.