Common Contaminants in Your Indoor Air
During each season, you know that the air quality outdoors can vary. In the springtime, the air is usually clear and clean because of all the rain. During the winter, however, the air is drier and more stagnant. And depending on where you live, smog and pollution can impact the air quality quite frequently.
You know which precautions to take to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from contaminated air outdoors. But do you take similar precautions to protect against poor air indoors?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, poor indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental risks to a person’s health. In fact, air pollutants are about five times greater indoors than outside. Some indoor areas have even contained 100 times more pollutants than the outdoors.
Even if you can reduce your exposure to outdoor pollutants, you may not know which indoor contaminants you need to defend yourself against. Read our blog below to learn which common contaminants you may find in your home and how you can improve the quality of your indoor air.
- Viruses and Bacteria
These microscopic organisms can easily get into the air. And if your home or office has poor air quality, viruses and bacteria can remain inside and increase your risk for developing an illness. Some commonly contracted illnesses include the common cold and the flu. Additionally, humid and damp air allows viruses and bacteria to thrive, making it even likelier that you could become ill.
To reduce your risk for illness, make sure people around you know how to properly cover their noses and mouths when they sneeze and cough. This step ensures fewer bacteria get into the air. You can also invest in a dehumidifier to limit the moisture in the air, making it difficult for bacteria and viruses to spread.
- Dust and Dust Mites
Dust and dust mites can agitate several health conditions, including asthma and allergies. So when your indoor air can’t circulate through your home, dust and dust mites have a greater chance of settling onto your furniture and décor, into your carpet, and onto your blinds and drapes.
As more dust builds up inside your home or office, you may feel stuffier and more congested, and you may have a harder time breathing. If possible, take the following measures to reduce the amount of dust and dust mites in your home:
- Replace the filters in your heater and clean your vents to prevent dust from flowing through your home or office.
- Make the air less humid so dust mites can’t grow. Typically, you’ll want to keep your interior air at less than 50% humidity.
- Upgrade carpets to hard flooring if possible. If you decide to keep carpet in your home, vacuum it at least once a week and have it professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
You can also talk to a licensed professional to see what appliance upgrades can keep your home clear of dust.
- Pet Dander
Like dust, pet dander can agitate even the slightest of allergies and irritate individuals with lung conditions. Most pets leave behind dander, including dogs, cats, mice, birds, and other furry or feathery animals.
If you have pets, you’ll need to clean your home more frequently to reduce the amount of pet dander in the air. You’ll also want to replace your heater’s air filters every month and vacuum your floors a couple of times a week.
- Mold and Mildew
Unseen leaks and other water damage can cause mold and mildew to grow throughout your home or work space. Spores from the mold and mildew can move throughout the space and cause anyone inside to become sick with any of the following conditions:
- Sore throat
- Nasal and sinus congestion
Additionally, individuals with asthma may notice worsened symptoms when they are exposed to mold. To keep your space clear of mold and mildew, take the following steps:
- Eliminate any moisture in your home or work environment. Specifically, you’ll want to look for and repair leaks throughout the space.
- Keep the carpets and flooring dry.
- Add additional ventilation if possible.
Not sure how to detect mold or mildew? As you walk through your home or office, pay attention to musty odors, excessive moisture on surfaces, and water stains. These signs typically precede (or accompany) mold growth.
To improve your indoor air quality, read through one of our previous blog posts. In that article, you’ll find surefire tips for improving your home’s air quality.
However, some contaminants can’t be removed from your home’s air with a simple DIY fix. To further enhance your indoor air quality, get in touch with a professional who can perform air quality control tests. These technicians may even be able to install an air purifier that will more effectively clear your indoor air of contaminants.
For more information about how these professionals can improve your home, read through the rest of our blog.