Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Affect Air Quality and How to Improve It

Residences today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep heating and cooling expenses down. While this is good for your utility costs, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

As air has fewer chances to escape, pollutants can accumulate and reduce your house’s indoor air quality. In actuality, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s specifically detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these routine substances and how you can enhance your home’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you envision pollutants, you might think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that impact your air quality are normal substances. These things contain chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They involve:

  1. Cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, such as 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, particularly 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 include:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

In severe instances, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t hard to improve your home’s air quality. Here are several ideas from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Residence Often

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

2. Routinely Replace Your Air Filter

This crucial filter keeps your home comfortable and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you have. Flat filters should be changed monthly, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and hold it up to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, we suggest using a filter with a higher MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at getting rid of contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also suggest running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to eliminate pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a resolution to help your loved ones breathe better. We’ll help you find the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 925-364-5427 to schedule yours now!

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