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July 29, 2020
You’re likely in your house right now, but how much do you actually know about your home’s indoor air quality? Here at Pippin, we specialize in handling the systems that handle the air you breathe each and every day — and a surprising number of our customers have lots of questions relating to the quality of the air in their homes, like “How clean is my home's air?” or “What is the best way to purify my indoor air?”
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions surrounding the air quality of a home.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
The Environmental Protection Agency describes indoor air quality (IAQ) as “the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.” Contrary to popular belief, indoor air often contains several times the concentration levels of harmful air pollutants than the air outside, which is why understanding IAQ is so important!
Why Is Indoor Air Worse than Outdoor Air?
The main reason outdoor air is considered healthier than the air inside is that outdoor contaminants have the entire atmosphere to dissipate in, as opposed to the indoors where contaminants and pollutants can recirculate and build up in a much smaller and confined space. According to the EPA, air quality inside a home is typically 2 to 5 times (up to 100 times) more polluted than outdoor air, and up to 500 times more polluted in a commercial building. With Americans spending up to 90% of their time indoors and 60% of that time at home, air quality becomes a major concern for many homeowners.
There are many contaminants that can enter your indoor air through open doors, windows, leaks in your ductwork, and the tiny cracks and gaps throughout your home’s construction. These contaminants include:
Plus, there are contaminants and chemicals that can arise from inside your home. These can come from multiple sources, like:
Building materials like drywall and wood
What Are the Health Problems that Come with Poor IAQ?
According to the American Lung Association, indoor air pollution accounts for up to 50% of all illness. Many homeowners do not think to attribute their symptoms to IAQ, often because they closely resemble seasonal allergies. Symptoms of poor IAQ include:
Dry and itchy eyes
Coughing and sneezing
Post nasal drip
Poor IAQ can also exacerbate asthma symptoms, or worsen the symptoms of those that suffer from other respiratory issues.
How Do You Know If You Have Poor IAQ?
The only sure-fire way to know the status of your indoor air quality is with an indoor air quality test. However, there are a few signs to look out for, outside of the symptoms listed above. Have you noticed any of the following in your Fort Sill or Duncan, OK home?
High indoor humidity
How Do You Improve IAQ?
Many homeowners assume a single room air purifier is the ticket for improving indoor air quality. Though an air purifier may remove contaminants and particles from the air, it will only do so in the room it is operating in, which will not do much for the overall health of your home! The better, whole home solution? Source removal of contaminants through duct cleaning, duct sealing, air filtration, and air purification and in extreme cases, whole home ventilation systems and building air sealing.
When your home is properly ventilated and sealed, all those contaminants, humidity, and chemicals finally have a place to go instead of re-circulating in your breathing air over and over again. When your ducts are cleaned and sanitized, you can rest easy knowing that dust, bacteria, and mold are not floating through your central heating and cooling system. And for homes that are particularly prone to outdoor contaminants, or if you are particularly sensitive to respiratory irritants, whole-home air filtration systems will help ensure the air you breathe is healthier and safer.
Looking for an Indoor Air Quality Consultant? Ask Pippin!
If you suspect the air in your home may not be as healthy as it should be, get the peace of mind that only Pippin Brothers can provide. We will get to the heart of your indoor air quality issues, whether it is helping you with how to tell if your air ducts need cleaning, or installing an upgraded air filtration system for cleaner air. We are the local experts in indoor air quality testing and whole-home solutions!