As winter approaches, we all tend to spend more time indoors. It becomes even more important to learn about the important of indoor air quality. Read more to understand why air quality is important, what are the implications of poor air quality, how air quality can be tested, and most importantly, what you can do to improve air quality in your home.

Why is indoor air quality important?

According to a recent study by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), in the US homes, indoor air pollution can be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor air pollution. When you are exposed to poor air quality for prolonged periods of time, it can have a detrimental effect on your health.

What are the health implications of poor indoor air quality?

The common health effects of poor air quality include:

  1. Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
  2. Headache, fatigue, and dizziness.
  3. Lung infection, heart disease, and cancer.

Health Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality WIN Home Inspection

These health issues can be caused by a variety of factors in the home. Here are some of the most common indoor air pollutants that can wreak havoc on our health:

  1. Particulate Matter: While coarse particulate matter causes respiratory tract issues, fine particulate matter can penetrate deeper and cause asthma and bronchitis.
  2. Asbestos: Commonly present in paints and coatings, Asbestos is the leading cause of asbestosis and cancer among people.
  3. Formaldehyde: Found in paints, wooden floors, and upholstery, formaldehyde can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
  4. Radon: Radon is often present underneath homes; it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the USA.
  5. Tobacco Smoke: Tobacco smoke triggers a host of health issues including bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema.
  6. Mold: Biological pollutants such as pollen, dander, and mold in air can cause asthma, eye irritation, and nasal stuffiness.
  7. Fuel Burning: Emissions from stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters contain carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide that cause asthma and lung infection.
  8. Pesticides: The pesticides you may be using to kill household pests can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. These also pose an elevated risk of cancer.
  9. Lead: Present in paints and gasoline, lead can affect almost all systems of the body. Lead can cause anaemia, kidney failure, brain damage, and in severe cases, convulsions, coma, and death.

Tracking your health symptoms can help indicate presence and cause of poor air in your home e.g., nausea can indicate elevated Carbon monoxide (CO) level. Watery eyes may pinpoint towards an allergic reaction. If you are experiencing any such health issues, take immediate action and contact professionals for assistance.

How do you test indoor air quality?

If you are unsure of the air quality condition in your home, you can take a few easy steps to start monitoring your air quality and catch issues early.

Consider buying an air quality monitor: Getting a reliable air quality monitor is an easy way to assess the air quality inside your house. These monitors typically measure levels of particulate matter, humidity, and AQI (air quality index). However, for a holistic and more accurate test, a trained and certified inspector should be consulted.

Radon Test: Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that can only be detected by performing a test. It can enter the home through foundation or groundwater, and cause serious health issues over time. Trained and certified home inspectors can test Radon levels in your home through specialized equipment, and provide a detailed report with findings and recommendations.

Radon Test WIN Home Inspection

Mold Test: Some mold is visible, but often mold spores grow in dark and damp places that are hard to see. These spores can be dangerous when breathed in, especially for anyone with pre-existing respiratory conditions. If you have moisture issues or suspect mold in your home, contact a trained professional for mold testing and inspection.

Asbestos Test: Asbestos isn’t usually present in new homes, but can be found in older ones. If you notice damage to vinyl tile flooring, attic insulation, or other areas that may contain asbestos, take quick action to seal off the area, and contact a trained inspector to collect samples for testing.

How indoor air quality can be improved?

Indoor Air Quality Air Purifier WIN Home Inspection

Before poor air quality becomes an issue, here are a few ways you can improve the air and health of your home.

  1. Ensure adequate ventilation: By properly ventilating your indoor space, you allow air to circulate freely inside your home, minimizing the level of pollutants.
  2. Use an air purifier: Use a high-quality air purifier to detox the environment inside your home.
  3. Change filters often: The filters on your centralized cooling and heating systems should be replaced regularly. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines when doing so.
  4. Monitor humidity: Track humidity levels inside your house using a humidity gauge and try to maintain it between 30-50%. A dehumidifier can be used to remove excess moisture if humidity is more than recommended levels.
  5. Vacuum clean your home: Keep your indoor air free of dust, dander, and other allergens by regularly cleaning your home using a good-quality vacuum cleaner, preferably one with high-efficiency filters. Also, wipe surfaces with a damp cloth as needed.
  6. Be cautious with cleaning supplies: Make sure the ingredients present in your cleaning supplies (floor cleaner, air freshener, moth repellent) are eco-friendly.
  7. Know when to call the professionals: If you suspect mold, radon, asbestos, or other contaminant in your home, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Contact a professional for inspection and testing.

Want to get your indoor air quality tested? Connect with us.

At WIN Home Inspection, we use state-of-the-art equipment and partner with accredited labs to check air quality inside your home, and offer recommendations on minimizing pollutant levels. Call (800) 309-6753 to connect with our experts and pave the way for building a healthier environment for you and your family.