Most of us can walk around the house and never sense that the air that we are breathing is anything short of healthy and normal. Yet, in most households, there are a number of factors that can render our air quality very poor, and that can affect everyone’s health, especially those who suffer from allergies. In fact, the air inside our home can actually be worse than the air outside our home in many instances.
This air quality issue has arisen in part due to modern design, which has not given much thought to air circulation. As a result, we can live 365 days a year in a home that is shut tightly and has little capacity to circulate air, a key to air quality.
How can you know if you have an indoor air quality problem?
Here are a few telltale signs that you might have an issue with your indoor air quality that needs to be addressed:
- Unusual, noticeable odors, especially musty smells
- Lack of air movement=no breeze or circulation ever inside
- Excess moisture that shows up on the inside of windows or along pipes
- Presence of mold in windowsills, on floors, in corners, etc.
- Excessive sneezing or congestion for someone with known allergies
- Sluggishness among those who spend a lot of time in the home
These symptoms can reveal an underlying problem that is causing the air in your home to be subpar or even unhealthy. You might have too much humidity in the house or dirty filters in your air conditioning units. You could have blocked air ducts or a faulty chimney. Or, you could have a fairly normal ventilation system but a lot going on inside the home that impacts air quality, such as a large amount of animal dander or extreme numbers of dust mites or cockroaches, both of which impact air quality.
If you don’t know your home’s history, you also might be dealing with excess amounts of asbestos, lead, formaldehyde or other materials, many of which are used in construction and remodeling of homes. Lead-based paint is a common air polluter, particularly if you or someone else has done a lot of painting recently or sanding and scraping of old paint.
Other more obvious culprits include secondhand smoke and the fumes that are emitted by household cleaners, aerosols and glues.
If you don’t feel as good as you think you should, your indoor air might be the culprit. If you sense that you have any of the issues stated above, take proactive steps to improve the quality of your air. Your health might be on the line, as well as those who live with you!