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

Houses today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This involves more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep energy bills down. While this is good for your utility costs, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Because air has decreased chances to escape, chemicals can increase and reduce your house’s indoor air quality. In fact, your residence’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 particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

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

6 Routine Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that influence your air quality are normal items. These things contain chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, like 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 often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, especially 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 sensitive to 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 Enhance Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

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

1. Clean Your Residence Often

Frequently 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 Change Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your home comfortable and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you install. Flat filters should be changed each month, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re not sure if your filter should be swapped, remove it and tilt it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your family has allergies or asthma, we advise having a filter with a greater MERV rating. The bigger the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also advise using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to get rid of pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Call Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Barlow Service Experts has a solution to help your loved ones breathe better. We’ll help you select the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 801-436-8985 to request yours right away!

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