The air inside our homes and other buildings isn’t good for our health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4.3 million people die each year due to household air pollution. The American Lung Association estimates have estimated that 164 million Americans are breathing air that is not healthy. When you consider that Americans spend the vast majority of their time indoors (90 percent), the likelihood of exposure to unhealthy air is very high.
Poor Indoor Air Quality a Serious Problem
Most people have no choice but to spend the vast majority of their time inside buildings. They are unaware that they are in an environment that is between two and five times (and sometimes more than 100 times) more polluted than the air outside, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Spending time in this environment can lead to several issues, such as:
- Health problems
- Poor student performance
- Discomfort inside homes
- Reduced employee productivity
Research has shown the effects of poor IAQ end up costing the US economy $168 billion per year.
Causes of Indoor Air Quality Issues
The quality inside our homes or a commercial building can be relatively clean or full of particles, gases, and contaminants. There are several reasons for this buildup that lead to poor IAQ, which include:
- Failure to adequately maintain HVAC system
- Not enough ventilation in home or building
- Excess dampness or moisture due to high humidity, leaks, or flooding
- Construction activities
- Mold spores, which can become airborne
- Pet dander
If there isn’t sufficient ventilation in the building, the level of off-gasses from contaminants will build up. Sources of these contaminants are:
- Carpets and flooring
- Furniture and fabrics
- Paints, finishes and sealants
- Construction materials
- Cleaning supplies
- Our clothing
- Chemicals from using toiletries (soap, shampoo, shaving cream, cologne, etc.)
The Adverse Effects of Poor IAQ
The effects of unhealthy air in our homes, schools, and commercial buildings have several adverse effects on our health.
- Allergies, asthma, coughs and headaches
- Skin irritations
- Difficulty breathing
- Respiratory problems
- Loss of coordination
- Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
- Damage to the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system
- Issues with the nervous and endocrine system
Household air pollution also includes the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide, which can be deadly at a high enough dose. At lower doses, it leads to headaches, drowsiness, and a lack of energy. A moderately high concentration can lead to a significant impairment of a person’s decision-making ability.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve the interior air quality in your home. Sheldon's Heating & Air Conditioning offers several indoor air quality services to give you the clean, pure air you want. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.