Breaking 5 Habits That Negatively Impact Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is something we often take for granted. However, since we spend about 90% of our time indoors, its impact on our health is significant.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air we breathe indoors can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Consequently, you need to break the following habits to improve the air quality in your home.

1. Neglecting Air Filters

Air filters are the first defense in protecting your house from outdoor particles. You should clean or replace the air filters on a regular basis, typically every 90 days. The convenience of “out of sight, out of mind” often results in neglect of air filters. This allows them to become clogged over time.

Reduced airflow from the blockage taxes your HVAC system, forcing it to work harder to compensate. Plus, a clogged filter is less efficient at trapping contaminants, leading to a rise in the level of pollutants in indoor air.

Thus, you should ensure your air filters are often cleaned and replaced. It helps maintain both your HVAC system health and IAQ.

2. Smoking Indoors

As you probably know, smoking—both active and secondhand—is detrimental to human health. The smoke from cigarettes releases thousands of harmful chemicals into the air, such as carbon monoxide and nicotine. These toxins are linked to serious health issues, including lung cancer.

Moreover, lingering tobacco smoke can get absorbed by household items like carpets. This causes an unpleasant lingering odor and further damages IAQ. As a result, you should avoid smoking indoors. Instead, consider assigning designated smoking areas outside your home.

3. Failing to Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Your home’s HVAC system is integral in maintaining good indoor air quality. The HVAC system circulates and filters the air in your home, contributing to pollution control.

Like any other machine, HVAC systems require regular maintenance. Without thorough and routine checks, your HVAC unit might house pollutants, such as dust and mold. These contaminants may circulate through your home, leading to poor IAQ.

We recommend scheduling maintenance checks with a professional HVAC expert at least once a year. Regular maintenance protects against poor IAQ. Plus, it extends your system’s lifecycle and prevents costly repairs or replacements in the future.

4. Keeping Windows and Doors Closed

In the quest to maintain indoor comfort, we tend to keep our windows and doors shut. Although this keeps out outdoor pollutants, it leads to poor ventilation. It also promotes the buildup of indoor pollutants, leading to stale air and low IAQ.

The solution here lies in air balance. Occasionally air out your home to allow in fresh air. This reduces the concentration of harmful pollutants within your living space. Remember to seek expert advice to make the best judgment on how to ventilate your home.

5. Ignoring Common Factors

Several other factors contribute to poor indoor air quality, including:

  • High Humidity: High humidity in your home can lead to mold and mildew growth, impacting your IAQ and health. Keep humidity levels between 30-50% with a dehumidifier.
  • VOCs: Many everyday items, such as paints and adhesives, contain (volatile organic compounds) VOCs. Look for low-VOC alternatives or allow adequate ventilation when using these products.
  • Cleaning Products: Harsh cleaning products emit chemicals that can harm IAQ. Choose fragrance-free and natural cleaning solutions whenever possible.
  • Burning Candles: Although candles add ambiance, they can release pollutants and soot into the air. Opt for beeswax or soy candles, which produce fewer emissions.
  • Irregular Cleaning: Dust and allergens can accumulate in your home, affecting IAQ. Regularly clean surfaces and floors with a vacuum cleaner.

Improving indoor air quality is crucial for your health and well-being. By breaking these habits and implementing changes, you can enhance the air you breathe in your home.

And as they say, “prevention is better than cure.” So act now to safeguard your IAQ. Contact us for more information on improving indoor air quality. You can also call us today at 410-658-6564 to schedule your appointment.