Many people think that if they’re running their air conditioner or furnace all the time, they have high quality, filtered air. Or maybe the purchase of a new furnace has eased any concerns about air quality. While it’s true that the air is filtered, it is in no way not certain that it’s high quality! Often fresh air from outside is cleaner than inside air!
The quality of the indoor air can affect your health and quality of life! The effects of breathing poor quality air may show up after just one exposure or after many exposures.
Indoor Air Quality
The high humidity and high temperatures we experience every summer around St. Joe, Platte City and Weston can contribute to poor air quality if not addressed!
The effects of poor air quality can include allergies, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, eye, nose, and/or throat irritation. Symptoms of some diseases, like asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever (PDF), can occur soon after exposure.
Some effects can occur years after exposure while others only occur after long or repeated instances of exposure. Sometimes the effects can include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer and can be severely debilitating or fatal.
It’s important to have good indoor air quality even if symptoms are not present! And have a new furnace or air conditioner does not mean the air quality is any better!
Sources of indoor pollution that release gases or particles into the air are primary areas of concern. Indoor pollution can be caused by:
- High temperatures, high humidity and moisture
- Cigarette smoke
- Some household products like oven and drain cleaners, laundry detergent, floor polish, paint and pesticides. Arts and crafts supplies and yard care products can be hazardous.
- Biological contaminants like mold and pollen
- Gases like radon and carbon monoxide
- Some building materials like asbestos, formaldehyde and lead
Poor ventilation can make issues worse!
The majority of problems associated with poor indoor air quality are related to discomfort, and most people feel better shortly after leaving the home or eliminating the cause. Sometimes, however, pollutants can cause diseases that show up much later, such as respiratory diseases or cancer.
Molds can cause issues because they produce allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases (like black mold), potentially toxic matter (mycotoxins). Allergic reactions to mold are common and include: sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, rashes (dermatitis), and for people with asthma, asthma attacks.
People who are not allergic to mold don’t usually have symptoms when exposed to it. Research on the effects of mold is ongoing.
Carpet can trap dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores, pesticides and other particles. Poor maintenance can allow large amounts of debris to build up. Some studies show that when carpet is not cleaned often enough, it can release polluting particles into the air during the course of daily activity.
There are some easy solutions you can (and should) do yourself, and others where you may want to purchase additional products:
- Dehumidification or integration with your HVAC unit
- Improve ventilation
- Monthly air filter changes
- Usage of a programmable thermostat to control temperatures
- U.V. lighting for your ducts
- Air cleaners
Additional information on the web:
Our technicians are trained in the area of indoor air quality and can answer many of your questions about it.