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

Residences today are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. This involves extra insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility costs reasonable. While this is good for your heating and cooling bill, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

As air has fewer chances to escape, chemicals can build up and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In actuality, 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 especially detrimental for loved ones with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s discuss some of these everyday contaminants and how you can boost your residence’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But lots of substances that impact your air quality are everyday substances. These things include chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

  1. Cleaning products, including aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, like 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, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other common 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 extreme situations, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

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

1. Clean Your House Regularly

Routinely cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help reduce on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your house.

2. Routinely Switch Your Air Filter

This crucial filter keeps your house comfortable and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you use. Flat filters should be replaced each month, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, take it out and angle it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, we suggest using a filter with a greater MERV rating. The greater the number this is, the better your filter is at eliminating contaminants.

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also suggest running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen regularly to remove pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Strogen's Service Experts has a solution to help your family breathe more freely. We’ll help you find the best option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 603-923-4570 to schedule yours today!

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