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

Residences today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes added insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility bills affordable. While this is positive for your utility costs, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

As air has fewer chances to escape, chemicals can build up and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In fact, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times worse than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these everyday contaminants and how you can boost your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that decrease your air quality are everyday items. These things include chemicals known as 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 commonly used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, particularly when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other everyday pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more sensitive to VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure involve:

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

In severe cases, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Enhance Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t hard to boost your residence’s air quality. Here are several suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Residence Often

Frequently cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, such as furniture, carpet and bedding, will help reduce on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your residence.

2. Regularly Change Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your home comfortable and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the type of filter you install. Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re not sure if your filter should be changed, pull it out and tilt it to the light. Install a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your family deals with allergies or asthma, we recommend choosing a filter with a greater MERV rating. The greater 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 recommend running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen often to get rid of pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a solution to help your household breathe better. We’ll help you select the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 919-578-4329 to book yours right away!

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