What Are You Breathing?
Air, yes, but what’s in it?
Things have changed over the past decades, most people spend close to 90 percent of their time indoors, whether it’s at home, at school, at work, or at a recreational venue. We are exposed to more pollutants and allergens than prior generations, and the buildings we spend time may have less-than ideal indoor environments.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the indoor environment and how it relates to the health and comfort of the occupants.
The Importance of Indoor Air Quality in Your Central Illinois Home
Is your Peoria-area home air really healthy? What do you know about home levels of:
- Carbon monoxide
- Pet dander
Some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide (CO), are a result of improperly-burned or vented fuels like propane, natural gas, oil, coal and wood. CO is a harmful gas that has no color, smell, or taste. It reduces your body’s ability to carry oxygen in your blood. CO detectors are a simple and reliable way to alert you to CO problems, as is regular maintenance of your heating system. An energy audit can also identify problems with poorly operating space and water heating equipment.
Other chemical pollutants that you might be living with -- like formaldehyde found in furniture, carpeting and finishes -- can cause irritated eyes, noses and throats, and can make asthma symptoms worse for some people. Pet dander, mold and other biological pollutants can also contribute to allergic reactions and respiratory problems like asthma.
Home Dampness Can Cause Serious Health Problems
Dampness is one of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality in homes, because moisture promotes the growth of mold and dust mites. Mold can grow in damp or wet areas caused by water leaks, flooding or high humidity levels from cooking or showering.
Mold can be the cause of eye, nose, and throat irritation as well as worsening asthma symptoms and other allergic reactions. Ways to prevent mold include:
- Clean and repair damp spots right away
- Use bath and kitchen fans that vent to the outdoors
- Seal tubs and sinks
- Throw out basement clutter
- Reduce humidity levels
- Carry out air sealing measures
On the other hand, houses in Central Illinois can be very dry in the winter, causing eye, nose, and throat irritation, dry skin and static electricity. Health issues can be compounded by the presence of animal dander.
AAA Northgate can help identify poor IAQ and airborne allergens. Your best bet to improving IAQ is to eliminate the source. That’s not always an option, though, due to cost or circumstance. To help keep your home air healthy, we offer indoor air quality testing, air purification equipment and home air filters.
Ask us about UV lights for allergies, humidifiers for dry skin, and electronic air cleaners to purify the air.