Scratchy eyes, runny nose, sore throat. Must be cold season, right? Well, not necessarily. We tend to blame outdoor allergens when we start to feel under-the-weather, but the real culprit may be even closer than we think. Indoor air pollution can cause a whole slew of health problems, ranging from minor irritations to serious health concerns. Luckily, HVAC services from a trusted contractor can help kick those indoor pollutants to the curb!
What counts as air pollution?
Some air pollution is obvious—cigarette smoke, paint, and paint strippers all have powerful and distinct odors that we know can be harmful. Some pollutants hide under the radar, though. They’re so commonplace, you may not even realize how high the potential risk is. This can include things like:
- Household cleaners
In small doses, these things may pose little threat, but over time, the risk can grow. This is also true of untreated problems, like a wet or damp carpet. While not immediately threatening, wet carpets that are left untreated become a breeding ground for mold, which can have serious ramifications for your health.
What happens when you breathe in air pollutants?
There isn’t just one symptom that points to a dangerous level of air pollution in your home. Cold symptoms, like we mentioned above, could be a warning sign. You may also experience fatigue, dizziness, headaches, or in more severe cases, pneumonia or bronchitis.
Long-term exposure can be more serious, sometimes leading to diseases like asthma or emphysema. These are worst-case scenarios where severe pollution is left untreated, but it’s just not worth it to take the risk.
How do I get rid of the air pollutants in my home?
The key to keeping the air in your home clean is ventilation. Keeping clean air flowing in and cycling out the contaminated air is the only way to improve the air quality in your home. There are a few different types of ventilation that you can use at various points through the year:
Infiltration can be useful in the summer, but it won’t be your favorite choice once the cooler months hit. Infiltration relies on clean air squeezing in through the small openings of your home, like the cracks under your door or around windows, small ventilation cracks in the walls, or other joints throughout the house. These are all spaces we usually want to see patched up tight when cold weather comes, so it’s not wise to rely on infiltration alone.
2) Natural Ventilation
Natural ventilation is another summertime preference. Just as the name implies, natural ventilation occurs when clean air comes into your home through open windows and doors. This may be a refreshing option when the weather’s warm, but it may not be the best year-long solution.
3) Mechanical Ventilation
Most people will need to rely on mechanical ventilation for part, if not all, of the year. Mechanical ventilation relies on fans that take air from one or more rooms and move it outside. This is an appealing option for anyone who can’t keep their windows open every day.
The best option may be to use a combination of these ventilation techniques to keep your indoor air moving. No matter what combination of methods you use, you need to get clean air in and dirty air out. This may be easier said than done, and it always helps to call in a professional to determine what HVAC services you need. This is especially true when evaluating and improving the air quality in your home.
How do I know if my air quality is good or bad?
If you’ve been experiencing a cold that just won’t go away, or any of the other symptoms mentioned above, you might want to have your air quality tested. We routinely test indoor air quality, looking for:
- Specific particles in the air, and how many there are
- The amount of humidity in the air
- Areas where the temperature changes
- Non-visible areas of moisture
We know what to look for when assessing the quality of your air. We also work with you to determine the cause, create an action-plan to correct any problems, and prevent them from repeating. Whether your ducts need a good cleaning, or, in more dire situations, if you need a whole new heating and cooling system, we’ll work with you to evaluate your unique situation and recommend the best course of action.
We know how important the health of your family is. That’s why we pride ourselves on offering top-notch HVAC services to meet your needs. Air pollution can do lasting damage if not taken care of quickly and efficiently. No matter what your HVAC needs are, our experienced team can help clear the air in your home, and help you breathe a little easier.