It’s likely that the air quality in your home isn’t always as fresh as you’d like it to be. Problems with air quality can be the cause of numerous health symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches, coughing, and sneezing. If you or your family have noticed these symptoms frequently, you could have problems with your indoor air quality.
Dust and Mold
The air in your home collects contaminants all year round, including dust mites from your carpets and spores from dust and mold. Over time, these contaminants can even build up in the ducting of your HVAC system. If there are any leaks in your AC ducting, spores will be present in the air, forming a hazard. To prevent this, you’ll need to make sure that any ducting leaks are quickly discovered and repaired to minimize the risk of further damage to your air quality. Replace your HVAC filter regularly help to keep contaminants down.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
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Defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “any compound of carbon”, VOCs include many everyday products you use around the home such as paint, glue, disinfectant, household solvents, and most aerosols. Being volatile means they’ll evaporate easily. Used outdoors, VOCs can disperse freely, but indoors these substances build up to hazardous levels if not stored and used correctly. You should keep all containers closed and sealed when not in use and store in your basement or away from your general living spaces.
Without adequate ventilation, polluted air that has built up inside your house can’t escape, and outside air can’t get in to carry it away. This may seem obvious, but it highlights the reason why poor ventilation has such a negative effect on air quality in your home. Stale odors from tobacco, cleaning products, aerosols, and other VOCs shouldn’t be allowed to build up to hazardous levels. With regular service, your HVAC system will provide good ventilation, bringing outside air in and taking the contaminated air out. Additionally, opening your doors and windows whenever you can also helps to circulate air.
When working normally, your air conditioning system produces condensate as a by-product; this is usually piped away to a drain pan at the base of the unit. Bacteria, algae, slime, and mold can build up in your condensate pan. This creates a serious health hazard because air circulating across the drain pan is re-circulated throughout the living spaces of your home, carrying any airborne contaminants with it. Drain pans should only be cleaned by a professional, so it’s essential that this and replacement air filters are not overlooked during your regular annual HVAC service.
Protecting yourself and your family is your main aim, and your awareness of the causes of air quality problems helps you stop small issues before they become major problems. The benefits of trying to improve your indoor air quality are clearly defined in a virtual tour produced by the EPA, which will provide you with more guidance for future improvements.