Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Decrease Air Quality and How to Enhance It

Homes today are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes extra insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep energy bills reasonable. While this is great for your heating and cooling bill, it’s not so good for your indoor air quality.

Because air has decreased chances to escape, chemicals can accumulate and decrease your home’s indoor air quality. In actuality, your home’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s specifically detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these common substances and how you can enhance your home’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that impact your air quality are common products. These things contain chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, such as aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, including hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, especially when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other common pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more sensitive to VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

In bad cases, the EPA says VOCs are linked to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to enhance your home’s air quality. Here are a couple of suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Regularly

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, such as furniture, carpet and bedding, will help cut down on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your residence.

2. Routinely Change Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your home comfy and air healthy. How often you should change your air filter depends on the kind of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped monthly, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be replaced, pull it out and tilt it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your residence deals with allergies or asthma, we suggest choosing a filter with a better MERV rating. The greater the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Maximize Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also recommend running exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to get rid of pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Midway Services has a solution to help your loved ones breathe more freely. We’ll help you select the best option during your free home comfort assessment. Reach us at 727-219-2471 to request yours now!