Indoor air quality in the home

Indoor air quality in the home22/06/2016

Indoor air quality in the home

By EnviroVent

Most home owners don’t think about the quality of air in their home. While pollution from traffic and high pollen counts is often in the news, the fact that the air in your home can be just as bad for your health and wellbeing isn't as widely reported.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is defined as the absence of air pollutants which could affect the comfort or health of the building residents. Nowadays, we spend a lot of time insulating our homes - adding cavity wall insulation, double glazing and loft insulation to make them more energy-efficient and to save on our utility bills. That's a good thing, for us and for the environment, but closing all those air gaps in our houses has the disadvantage of reducing ventilation, which can affect the air quality that we breathe indoors.

Given that we spend around 90% of our time in our homes, breathing stale air can have a serious effect on our health.

Sources of indoor air pollution:

You’ve probably heard how bad second hand smoke from a cigarette is for anyone breathing it in and, in a household where people smoke, this can be a major source of air pollution. The gas from second hand smoke contains carbon monoxide and tiny particulates which can penetrate the lungs' natural defence system.

Carbon dioxide is also produced in the home simply from our normal metabolic functions, and can cause drowsiness and headaches.

Carbon monoxide is incredibly dangerous and high levels can even cause death. Tobacco smoke is a culprit yet again for this gas, along with car exhaust fumes if you have an attached garage, heaters that use fossil fuels, blocked chimneys and faulty central heating furnaces.

Radon gas is created from the radioactive decay of radium, and occurs naturally in the ground from certain rock formations and also in some building materials. It’s likely that radon is responsible for causing many thousands of lung cancer cases each year.

As well as gases in the air, your home could have various types of bacteria such as the waterborne Legionella, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae. These are long names for some very tiny, but nasty, diseases!

If those weren’t enough, if your house has condensation or is suffering from damp, there could also be mould spores in the air, along with pet allergens, dust mites and VOCs (which stands for volatile organic compounds) from cleaning materials, your dry cleaning, printers, air fresheners, and even from furniture and paint.

Without proper ventilation, all of these substances can build up to dangerous levels in your home.

Indoor air quality and health:

From the list above, it’s quite easy to see that poor air quality can make a huge difference to our quality of life and health. From asthma triggers and breathing difficulties such as COPD, bacterial infections such as pneumonia all the way to lung cancer, this is rather more than just a minor issue.

Unfortunately, most of these things are invisible and odourless, so it’s easy not to think about them.

We have outlined 10 of the most significant reasons why it’s important to have good air quality in your home;

  • It increases quality of life and reduces headaches and lethargy.
  • Breathing in carbon dioxide can affect mental and physical performance, so if you work from home or exercise at home, you’ll be able to do more with clean air.
  • Allergens and mould can trigger asthma and allergies so reduction of pet dander, dust mites and mould can help prevent the disease.
  • If someone in your house already has asthma, clean air can make all the difference to their breathing and reduce coughing and wheezing.
  • Clean air can also reduce dust mites, which can irritate asthma.
  • Hay fever sufferers do much better with clean air free from allergens to help reduce their annoying symptoms.
  • Modern furniture and cleaning materials can add to the build-up of pollutants in your home, so making sure enough high quality air can circulate reduces the effect these can have on your health.
  • If someone in your house is a smoker, everyone else will be breathing in the contaminants from second hand smoke, whether they choose to smoke or not. Having clean air can help to sweep these pollutants out of the house and reduce your exposure to the gases and chemicals produced.
  • The effects of breathing in stale air over a long period can be very serious and even lead to premature death.
  • Stale air can seriously affect the health of children in particular, and sadly, increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Ways we can improve indoor air quality:

Work can be done to reduce radon gas, including sealing foundations and concrete floors, and there are clear benefits to brushing pets often, and cleaning carpets, curtains and furniture regularly to reduce dander and allergens, but the obvious answer for all of these problems is to increase ventilation.

Good ventilation can add to our comfort and our well being with reduced symptoms for asthma and allergies, and protection of our long term health.

Methods of source control, filtration and ventilation on reducing the contaminants for improving indoor air quality.

Here at Envirovent, we offer a wide range of energy efficient ventilation systems to suit any residence, filling your home with fresh and healthy filtered air, and helping to reduce humidity, mould, condensation, unpleasant odours, dust mites and damp.

With quiet operation and units discreetly hidden in your loft or unobtrusive wall units, you can freshen your home, cool down on a hot day, reduce air pollution and reduce your heating bills.

Even better, if you suffer from allergies or if you live near a busy road or in a noisy town, you can have cool, clean fresh air, without having to open your windows. If you’d like to find out more, please contact us on 0345 27 27 807.

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