Why an Energy-Efficient Residence Can Decrease Air Quality and How to Improve It

Houses today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This involves more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility expenses down. While this is good for your utility bill, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Since air has fewer chances to escape, contaminants can build up and impact your home’s indoor air quality. In fact, your home’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy 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 review some of these routine substances and how you can enhance your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you might think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that influence your air quality are common substances. These things contain chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

  1. Cleaning products, like 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, particularly 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 affected by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

In bad cases, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to enhance your home’s air quality. Here are several recommendations from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Residence Often

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, like furniture, carpet and bedding, will help decrease on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your house.

2. Regularly Switch Your Air Filter

This important filter keeps your home comfy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you use. Flat filters should be changed monthly, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be swapped, take it out and hold it up to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

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

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also recommend running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen often to get rid of pollutants and bring in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Kingston Home Services by Enercare has a solution to help your loved ones breathe better. We’ll help you find the best option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 613-817-1591 to schedule yours now!