How is the indoor air quality in your home? Which areas of the home contribute to contaminants, allergens and irritants?
Inspect the different areas on the graphic below to learn about hidden indoor air contaminants and where they can be found in your home.
It’s never been more important to pay attention to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Statistics reveal that residents of the U.S. and Canada spend about 90% of their time indoors, maximizing possible exposure to a wide range of indoor air pollutants.
As houses are made more airtight to improve energy efficiency, concentrations of indoor air pollutants increase, along with adverse physical reactions to unseen pollutants in the air. Some indoor air pollutants cause allergic reactions and respiratory ailments. Others can be lethal. And all are invisible and difficult to detect without special tests and equipment.
5 Indoor Air Quality Dangers
Your Lifetime Heating and Air Conditioning specialist is trained and equipped to protect homeowners and families from indoor air pollution. Our expertise encompasses the many indoor air pollutants including mold, dust, carbon monoxide, pollen, pet dander and smoke.
Danger Level #5: Dangerous gases
Carbon monoxide (CO) and radon are hazardous gases made even more dangerous because they’re invisible and odorless. Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion appliances (furnaces, boilers, water heaters, wood stoves) that burn fossil fuels or firewood. Ventilation problems and appliance performance issues are the main causes of hazardous indoor levels of CO.
Testing your house for hazardous levels of radon or CO is the first step in protecting building inhabitants from these lethal pollutants.
Danger Level #4: Mold & mildew
Mold & mildew belong to the vast family of fungi that thrive in damp environments. Mold can be visible as a blotchy stain on organic materials like paper, fabric, leather and wood. It can also “hide” in wall cavities and elsewhere.
A living mold colony produces microscopic spores that disperse through the air. The musty mold smell means that you are inhaling these tiny organisms. Reactions to mold depend on the type of mold and on an individual’s sensitivity. Some people experience nose and throat irritation, while others have more severe reactions, including asthma and lung infections.
Danger Level #3: Allergens & particulates
Common indoor allergens and particulates
This IAQ danger level includes smoke from wood or tobacco, dust, pollen, pet dander and insect debris. If your house has a forced-air system, these irritants can be distributed in household air when your heating or air-conditioning system is operating. Fortunately, the use of high-quality filters or indoor air purification systems in a forced-air system can also trap many allergens and particulates. Without mitigation, these elements often cause respiratory ailments, eye irritation and sinus problems.
Danger Level #2: Infectious illnesses
Family members, friends and pets can bring bacteria and viruses into a home. Some of these health hazards are spread by contact, but others become indoor air pollutants. The contaminants include influenza, common cold viruses, streptococcus, pneumococcus and tuberculosis. Encouraging people to practice good hygiene can help to prevent illnesses from spreading, but air filtration, ventilation and humidity control can also improve safety in this area.
Danger Level #1: Toxic compounds
Leaky older houses were unlikely to accumulate hazardous concentrations of airborne toxic compounds or VOC’s. But as houses become more airtight to improve energy efficiency, this danger category is getting more attention. Toxic compounds such as formaldehyde, methylene chloride, acetone, benzene and toluene are often brought into the house in building materials, furniture and furnishings (carpets, curtains, etc.).
Toxic compounds can also be found in some cleaning products. The best defense against this indoor air pollution is to avoid buying or using products that contain these ingredients. Ill effects attributable to toxic compounds include dizziness, blurred vision and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause cancer and liver damage.
For more information on how to protect you and your loved ones from indoor air quality contaminants, contact us today at 425-553-4328 or visit us online at www.heatingforlife.com
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