February 20, 2024

When you consider air pollution, your outdoor environment may immediately spring to mind. People often don’t realize that indoor pollutants can also pose a significant threat to well-being and quality of life. We spend much of our time indoors, particularly those who live in colder climates. Smoke, chemicals, mold, pet dander, dust, and even outdoor contaminants circulate inside the walls of your home and workplace, exposing you and other indoor dwellers to a variety of health risks. Here’s what you need to know about the health risks of poor indoor air quality and how to manage them.

Types of Pollution

A wide assortment of sources contribute to indoor air pollution. Some are due to everyday habits, while others may be exacerbated by issues related to the building in which you reside. Dust, mites, and pet dander are common allergens that can irritate the respiratory system. If you’re a smoker, this can worsen air quality. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that exist in many of the items you use each day and even in the very materials that make up the building blocks of your house. Examples of such VOCs can come from cleaning supplies, paint, furnishings, air fresheners, cosmetics, deodorants, and pesticides.

The appliances within your home may be contributing to air quality issues, depending on the type and condition of these items. Stoves, wood burners, water heaters, and furnaces produce emissions like carbon monoxide, nitrous dioxide, and other particulate matter that are harmful to breathe in. Another common cause of pollution is too much humidity because it encourages the growth of mold and mildew, harbors bacteria and viruses, invites pests, and more. Too little humidity can also cause adverse health issues like dry nasal passages, sore throat, and itchy eyes.

Outdoor air pollution can sneak into your home through doors, windows, or cracks. You may even be bringing in pollutants from the outdoors on your shoes and clothing. Such pollutants include radon, smoke, and car emissions.

Effects on Health

There are numerous ways these contaminants and pollutants inside your living space can negatively affect the health of you and your household members. Perhaps the most obvious is through the respiratory system. When you breathe in such toxins, you may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing, wheezing, sore throat, and itchy eyes. Such conditions are particularly dangerous for those with existing respiratory conditions like asthma. Toxins in the air can also be detrimental to lung health.

Air pollution is also known to affect cognitive function and productivity. It can be hard to think if your brain isn’t being properly oxygenated. Older adults and children may be particularly affected. You also want to be on the lookout for symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Indoor air pollutants have been linked to serious health conditions like lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

What to Do About It

Fortunately, a professional HVAC contractor can assist you in improving the air quality inside of your residence in order to reduce exposure to the contaminants we’ve discussed. Routine maintenance of your HVAC system may be your best defense. Maintenance like ductwork cleaning and sealing, air filter replacement, and components inspection ensure your system is working efficiently in order to cut down on pollutants. Your HVAC pro can also recommend and install high-quality air filters to catch more particles. They may recommend an air purifier that’s able to collect even the smallest particulates, which can be quite beneficial to allergy sufferers. Controlling humidity levels is yet another solution that can get to the bottom of your air quality woes.

Call in the Professionals

If you’re worried about the quality of the air inside your space, we can help. Our expert HVAC professionals have the experience and training to identify problems, suggest solutions, and provide the necessary services to ensure your indoor environment is healthy and comfortable. Examples of tools we offer to clean the air include UV lights and air filtration systems. We can also provide the heating and air conditioning maintenance necessary to prevent many issues from developing in the first place. In addition, our team can assist you with a wide variety of HVAC needs, including air conditioning and heating repair and installation. Contact Totally Cool Heating & Air in Austin, TX today for a consultation.

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