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

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

As air has decreased chances to escape, contaminants can increase and decrease your residence’s indoor air quality. In reality, 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 loved ones with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these routine contaminants and how you can enhance your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you envision pollutants, you may think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that affect your air quality are common items. These things have chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, including 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 frequently 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 bad cases, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t difficult to boost your house’s air quality. Here are a few ideas from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your House Regularly

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

2. Frequently Change Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your home cozy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you use. Flat filters should be swapped monthly, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and angle it to the light. Install a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, we advise choosing a filter with a greater MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also suggest using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to remove pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Talk with 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 find the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 403-279-5760 to schedule yours now!