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Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality

indoor air quality
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Breathing is such an automatic action that we often take it for granted. But what if you found out that the air in your home is compromised? Considering how much time you and your family spend indoors at home, poor indoor air quality could be incredibly detrimental to your health. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to indoor air quality for our customers in and around Coral Springs.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

When most of us think of air pollution, we think about car exhausts and factories spewing dirty smoke into our atmosphere. But we hardly ever consider that the air we breathe inside our homes and workplaces could also be polluted.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) became a concern in the 1970s, as more people began to experience the symptoms of indoor air pollution (see below). This increase in health complaints was caused by two main factors. To reduce energy costs, we began constructing ‘airtight’ buildings that are insulated from outdoor air. This is not a bad thing per se, but when combined with an increase in products, furniture, and equipment laden with chemicals, the results can be incredibly harmful. IAQ is simply the term to describe the state of the air in any indoor setting – whether it’s a house, office, school, hospital, and so on.

Indoor Air Pollutants

Indoor air can be contaminated by a number of different substances and chemicals, including:

  • Gases (like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and radon)
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Dust, pet hair, and dander
  • Fecal matter from dust mites
  • Building materials (like fiberglass and asbestos)
  • Toxic vapors (like those released by paints, solvents, cleaning products and pesticides)
  • Microbial contaminants (like mold, fungi, viruses, and bacteria)

Many of these substances have no odor, making it possible for you to live or work in a contaminated area without even knowing it! Some of these substances are also responsible for allergies, asthma, and other breathing problems.

Signs of Poor or Polluted Indoor Air

Not everyone exhibits symptoms from indoor air pollutants immediately, or sometimes at all. Sensitivity to these contaminants depends on the individual’s allergies and pre-existing conditions, and the amount of time spent indoors. But here are some signs that your indoor air may be polluted:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Dry or itchy skin, eyes, nose, and throat
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

Many of these symptoms resemble your common cold or flu, which is why many people do not recognize that their illness is caused by IAQ. If these symptoms are alleviated when the individual leaves the building for a period of time, this would suggest that poor IAQ is to blame.

What Can Be Done?

Here are some measures you can take to prevent and combat polluted air indoors:

  • Do not allow smoking in your home, especially if you have children, geriatrics, or people with health problems and allergies in your family.
  • Get your air ducts and HVAC unit inspected, cleaned and maintained This is particularly important in humid climates (like here in South Florida) as mold can grow and spread via your duct system.
  • Some household plants can help filter the air inside your home, soaking up some of those nasty chemicals. If you’d like a more thorough solution that can eliminate the majority of indoor air pollutants, however, you may want to invest in a specialized filter or air purifier.

For more information about what you can do to maintain your indoor air quality, contact Art Plumbing, AC and Electric.

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