We’ve all seen the local news warn us about air pollution, often assign a system of numbers or colors to indicate the level of pollution accompanied by warnings to people suffering from certain illnesses to avoid exposure to the outside air. But did you realize that the indoor air quality is often times more serious polluted than the outside. If you don’t live in a large urban area and feel you don’t have to worry about the pollution within your home, think again. Your home could easily house air as polluted as the air in a big city.
Why? Obviously, the air inside your home is not as well ventilated as the air outside. Many pollutants become “trapped” inside your home. In addition, every thing in your home is a possible source of pollution within your home. Although an entire industry exists in order to address the building products used in building a new home, it is often so costly to make healthier choices in building materials, paint, carpets, furniture, and window treatments that it simply unattainable for the average person to achieve a healthier home environment by building it to be “healthier”. Most often people must address the problem after the fact.
Why is this important? If you take into account that many people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, the impact on their health can be substantial. Additionally, the people most likely to spend the most time indoors are the elderly, the very young, and those suffering from illnesses so their exposure to indoor air pollutants is more substantial. The effects of the exposure can be more critical, as well.
What are the effects of indoor air pollution? Although science is still working to determine the full, short term and long term effects of indoor air pollution, certain things can be assumed. A person with respiratory diseases such asthma, or pulmonary disease will likely suffer more from the disease if exposed to such indoor pollutants as particles released into the air by most homes. Others may develop reactions to certain off gases from building and decorating materials used in the home. Climate such as extreme heat and humidity can also increase the pollutants. These health effects can continue for years.
What can be done? You must start by identifying the source of problems and increasing the amount of ventilation in your home. New mechanical systems can increase the flow of fresh air into the home, but typical A/C and heating systems do not. For this reason, air cleaners are most effective and can be incorporated into your HVAC system. There is a wide variety of air cleaners on the market, have a conversation with your service specialist to determine which system would best serve your needs. Duct cleaning can be very helpful as well. Breath well, live well!