Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Impact Air Quality and How to Improve It

Houses today are built with energy efficiency in mind. This includes more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep heating and cooling bills down. While this is good for your utility bill, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

As air has fewer chances to escape, contaminants 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 specifically detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these routine pollutants and how you can boost your residence’s indoor air quality.

6 Everyday Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that influence your air quality are everyday substances. These things include chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, like 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 everyday 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 entail:

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

In severe cases, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

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

1. Clean Your Home Often

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

2. Regularly Switch Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your house comfortable and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped monthly, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you don’t know if your filter should be replaced, pull it out and hold it up to the light. Install a new one if you can’t see light through it.

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

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever the temperature allows. We also suggest using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to eliminate pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Jack Nelson Service Experts has a fix to help your family breathe more easily. We’ll help you choose the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 918-212-8927 to book yours right away!

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