Why an Energy-Efficient House Can Decrease Air Quality and How to Make It Better

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

As air has decreased chances to escape, contaminants can build up and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In reality, your residence’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 specifically detrimental for relatives with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s discuss some of these routine substances and how you can enhance your residence’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Impact Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you might think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that decrease your air quality are common items. These things have chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They involve:

  1. Cleaning products, such as 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 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 typical pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

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

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

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

4 Ways to Improve Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

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

1. Clean Your Residence Often

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

2. Routinely Change Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your house cozy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you install. Flat filters should be replaced each month, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be changed, remove it and hold it up to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your house has allergies or asthma, we recommend using a filter with a greater MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Maximize Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also recommend running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to get rid of pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a solution to help your loved ones breathe more easily. We’ll help you choose the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 318-588-8163 to request yours now!

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