Why an Energy-Efficient House Can Affect Air Quality and How to Make It Better

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

Because air has reduced chances to escape, contaminants can increase and decrease your residence’s indoor air quality. In fact, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these common substances and how you can improve your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But lots of substances that decrease your air quality are common substances. These things contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

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

Other typical 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 involve:

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

In extreme situations, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t hard to enhance your house’s air quality. Here are a couple of ideas from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

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

2. Frequently Switch Your Air Filter

This crucial filter keeps your residence cozy and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the kind of filter you have. Flat filters should be replaced each month, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you don’t know if your filter should be replaced, pull it out and angle it to the light. Get a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, we recommend installing a filter with a better MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at getting rid of contaminants.

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air circulating by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also advise turning on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to remove pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare has a fix to help your household breathe more easily. We’ll help you choose the best option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 289-813-5566 to schedule yours right away!