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What Does Indoor Air Quality Mean

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What Does Indoor Air Quality Mean

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jun 10, 2024

You may have heard the term Indoor Air Quality in conversations about how the environment inside our homes can affect our health and wondered what it means. In this article, we look at what indoor air quality is, why it matters, some of the factors that can affect it, and how you can improve the quality of the air inside your home.

What is indoor air quality

Quite simply, indoor air quality refers to the purity of the air inside your home. Over time, if your home is not well ventilated, the air quality will degrade as different chemicals build up.

Whether you live in a city centre where the air coming into your home is carrying pollutants from vehicles and industrial processes, or in the countryside with higher levels of pollen, external factors can affect air quality.

In addition to external sources of pollution in the air in your home, chemicals such as volatile organic compounds which come from the solvents used in cleaning products, paints and varnishes, and plastics can also become part of the air.

Why indoor air quality matters

We all feel better when we’re breathing fresh air – think of how energised you feel in open countryside. Long term exposure to low quality air inside your home affects your health in several ways and has been linked with a variety of health problems including aggravating asthma and other respiratory conditions, causing cognitive problems, and even some types of cancer.

Young children, the elderly and those with underlying immune and respiratory conditions are most affected by poor indoor air quality. Symptoms can range from headaches and throat irritation to longer term damage to your kidneys, lungs, skin, and liver, as well as your central nervous system.

Common Indoor Pollutants

The types of pollutant in the air inside your home will differ depending on where you live in the country, but common types of pollutant found in homes across the UK include:

Particulate matter from unburned fuel in cars and domestic heaters. These tiny soot particles can penetrate your lungs and bloodstream can cause damage throughout your body.

Volatile Organic Chemicals used as solvents in cleaning products, furniture and paint can evaporate into the air and cause irritation in your airways, eyes, and damage your nervous system.

Smoke from tobacco and cooking can linger in the air for a long time after it is created, and the chemicals released can stick to surfaces and affect your skin.

In homes with high humidity, mould spores, dust mite waste and pet dander can build up and cause health problems including allergic reactions and heightened symptoms of asthma.

In some parts of the UK, the rocks below ground can release radon into the air. This colourless radioactive gas can build up in poorly ventilated homes and may lead to lung cancer when its byproducts are inhaled.

Improving indoor air quality with ventilation

Reducing the concentration of pollutants in the air inside your home requires improved ventilation. Simply opening windows to improve the air flow into and out of your home is the easiest way to refresh the air, but if you live in an area with higher levels of outdoor pollution, this is not always possible.

The most effective way to improve your indoor air quality is through whole house ventilation. Positive Input Ventilation systems (PIV) work by drawing fresh air into your home through a central unit mounted in the loft. Air is drawn in well above the ground where there are fewer pollutants and filtered before being dispersed through your home.

The fresh, filtered incoming air displaces the stale air inside your property taking the pollution with it to give you a healthier environment to enjoy.

Find out more

Our local ventilation specialists can visit your home to conduct a free survey that identifies the best solution for your needs. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.

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  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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