Why an Energy-Efficient Residence Can Decrease Air Quality and How to Improve It

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

Because air has reduced chances to escape, contaminants can accumulate and decrease your residence’s indoor air quality. In reality, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s especially detrimental for loved ones with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these everyday pollutants and how you can boost your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you may think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that impact your air quality are normal products. These things include chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  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 often 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 bad cases, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

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

1. Clean Your Residence Regularly

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

2. Frequently Switch Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your residence cozy and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped each month, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re not sure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and angle it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, we advise having a filter with a higher MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also advise turning on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen often to get rid of pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Epperson Service Experts has a solution to help your household breathe better. We’ll help you find the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 843-619-3781 to request yours right away!

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