According to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), most Americans spend 90% of their time breathing indoor air, and indoor air is usually 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Most of your indoor time is spent in your home. That makes home air quality control a big deal when it comes to your overall health and well-being.
Why Indoor Air Quality Control Is Important?
Think about it. A typical, healthy adult can survive for weeks without food and days without water, but only minutes without air! But for our health, we tend to focus a lot of attention on the food we eat, and maybe also some on the freshness and quantity of water we drink.
You already know that keeping the food you eat and the water you drink clean, healthy, and pollution-free is important for your overall health. So how critical is it for you to make sure that you’re breathing clean, healthy, unpolluted air–especially in your home?
1) Testing And Inspection
It’s difficult to fix something when you don’t even know what the problem is. Without testing and inspection, you don’t really have any idea what kind of pollutants you’re dealing with in your home. This means you don’t know where they’re coming from or the best way to eliminate them.
Air pollutants can come from many different sources, and each one needs to be dealt with differently. Before you can begin to remove pollutants to make the air in your home safe, you need a thorough inspection and air testing. That will let you know what kinds of pollutants you’re dealing with and where they’re coming from.
There are three main categories of home air pollutants:
- Biological, which comes from living things like bacteria, mold, dust mites, or dandruff from people and pets
- Chemical, such as formaldehyde emissions from building materials, radon gas, or even lead
- Combustion, such as carbon monoxide that comes from gas stoves, any fuel-burning appliances, and cigarette smoking
A thorough inspection is important to identify the type of air pollution you have in your home. But it’s also important to find out exactly where pollution is coming from. So it’s very important to identify the causes and locations of pollutants at the same time as testing the air quality in your home.
Why Is It Important To Test Air Quality?
Even in a thoroughly inspected home, there can be hidden pollution sources that don’t show up in a routine inspection. These could be any one of the biological, chemical, or combustion pollutants that we’ve mentioned.
Air quality testing will reveal pollutants that weren’t located during the inspection. Sometimes air quality tests uncover larger amounts of pollution than home inspection ever could have indicated. In that case, it may be time to go inspect again!
Are Home Air Quality Tests Accurate?
Not all home air quality tests are created equal, and there are many different tests available for each type of possible air pollutant in your home. Because of this, it is important to have an expert both inspect and test your home’s air quality. That way you can be sure that you’re getting both appropriate and high-quality testing.
2) Your Short-Term Health
Short-term health problems from home air pollution can have similar symptoms to colds, cases of flu, or allergies. They include itchy eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and even dry, itchy skin. They can also cause and aggravate diseases like asthma and migraines.
The chances of having these kinds of short-term reactions vary from individual to individual. They depend on the type of pollutant, the age of the person, individual sensitivity, and any pre-existing medical conditions.
Also, people and pets can become sensitized to pollutants from intense or long-term exposure.
3) Your Long-Term Health
People and pets react differently to different types and levels of exposure to air pollution. There’s no way to know exactly what length of exposure it takes to generate a significant illness. We do know that longer-term exposures can lead to certain respiratory diseases, heart conditions, and cancers.
Because of this, it really doesn’t pay to wait around before inspection and testing when it comes to health issues caused by bad IAQ. If you let the problem linger it can cost you your health, and the time can also cost you money.
Problems with your home air quality can come from the same types of problems that cause your HVAC unit to run less efficiently. These include dirty ductwork, clogged filters, and mold due to pressure imbalances from closed vents. These indicate or cause problems that make your HVAC less energy-efficient and cost you money every month on your electric bill.
Also, all of the little medical expenses (and veterinary bills) from minor health issues caused by indoor pollution add up over time. And that’s not even taking into account the potentially massive costs of serious health issues that can come from prolonged exposure.
5) Peace Of Mind
Aside from the peace of mind you get from knowing you have healthy air in your home, it just feels good to live in a pleasant smelling home. You feel better when guests come over and your home smells fresh and inviting. You rest easier knowing your children and pets are not breathing in toxic pollutants that could set them up for chronic health conditions.
Peace of mind may not seem as urgent as maintaining health and saving money… but it really matters to your quality of life!
And environmental smells have been proven to have both positive and negative effects on your mental state. If your home has unpleasant odors, even if they’re subtle, it can affect your mental health and your mood. But if your home contains smells that you find pleasant and positive, it can actually improve your overall sense of well-being.
Cardinal Plumbing, Heating, and Air is your air quality control specialist in Reston, VA.