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

Houses today are built with energy efficiency in mind. This includes more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility costs down. While this is great for your utility expenses, it’s not so good for your indoor air quality.

As air has fewer chances to escape, contaminants can accumulate and decrease your house’s indoor air quality. In actuality, your home’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 especially detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory concerns or heart disease.

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

6 Common Pollutants that Impact Indoor Air Quality

When you picture pollutants, you may think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that influence your air quality are everyday substances. These things contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They entail:

  1. Cleaning products, like 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, 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 affected by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure entail:

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

In bad instances, the EPA says VOCs can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to boost your residence’s air quality. Here are a couple of recommendations from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

Frequently 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. Routinely Change Your Air Filter

This important filter keeps your home cozy and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the model of filter you install. Flat filters should be replaced monthly, while pleated filters should be changed every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be changed, pull it out and hold it up to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your residence has allergies or asthma, we advise having a filter with a higher MERV rating. The bigger the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Maximize Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also suggest using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen as much as possible to eliminate pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Call Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Matz-Rightway has a resolution to help your household breathe more easily. We’ll help you select the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 631-406-9220 to schedule yours today!

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