While most people know that air pollution is a problem outside, they often don’t realize that air quality can be an issue inside, as well. In fact, indoor air quality has been linked to a number of health problems, including increased respiratory illnesses and more severe allergy and asthma symptoms. Poor indoor air quality can also lead to what is known as “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS). SBS is a phenomenon in which occupants of a building experience various symptoms, often vague and subjective in nature, that can be traced back to the quality of air inside that building.
But how do you know if your indoor air quality is affecting your health? Colds, flu, allergies, and asthma can be a result of so many different factors that it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. That being said, there are a few indicators that your home may have poor indoor air quality and that it is affecting your overall health and well-being.
If everyone in your office comes down with the flu and the next week you start feeling bad, it’s probably not your indoor air quality. However, poor indoor air quality has been linked to increased instances of illness, so if you find yourself suffering from frequent, recurring headaches, nausea, nasal congestion, dry throat, or cough—especially upon waking up or after spending extended periods of time in the house—you might have a problem with indoor air quality. Additionally, if you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues, you might notice an unexplained uptick in symptoms, both in terms of how often they occur and how severe they are.
Does your home have excessive amounts of dust collecting on every surface? It could be an indoor air quality problem. Often, this issue is a result of dirty air ducts. Air ducts are responsible for carrying heated and cooled air throughout your home and, when left uncleaned for extended periods of time, they can also carry collected dust, sending it through the vents and into the various rooms of your house. No matter the cause, excessive dust, dirt, pet dander, and pollen can result in air that’s unhealthy to breathe.
Too much or too little humidity can be a big indicator of poor indoor air quality. While excessive humidity tends to cause more issues for your home and your belongings (warped wood furniture, damaged flooring, etc.), not enough humidity can result in various health problems. If the air inside your home is too dry, you might experience frequent sore throats, coughs, dry or cracked skin, runny nose, and other issues. A humidifier—whether a small, solitary unit or a whole-home system—can help address this indoor air quality issue.
Mold and mildew can pose a serious threat to your health. Black mold, especially, can lead to severe health problems that shouldn’t be ignored. Mold growth is often the result of too much humidity. You might spot mold or mildew growing around your bathroom or kitchen faucets and fixtures, including in the shower or tub, around or underneath the sink, or in the corners of the floor. In more severe cases, mold can start to grow in patches on the walls, floors, and ceilings throughout your home. Mold growth can lead to a musty, unpleasant smell and numerous respiratory problems which can negatively affect your health overall.
Any home can have less-than-ideal indoor air quality, but certain factors can put you more at risk. Older homes with outdated or un-maintained HVAC equipment tend to have higher instances of indoor air quality problems, as well as homes with indoor pets, smokers (even those who smoke outdoors), poor ventilation, or pest problems.
Interested in improving your indoor air quality in Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, or the surrounding areas? Call Collins Comfort Masters today to find out how we can help!