What’s in the Air We Breathe?
Learn About the 6 Components of Indoor Air Quality
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is one of four in a series about indoor air quality (IAQ): 1. "Learn About the 6 Components of Indoor Air Quality." 2. "It’s a Balancing Act: Household Temp and Humidity." 3. "The Time is Up for Odor and Airborne Particles Inside the Home." 4. "A Homeowner’s Need-to-Know Guide About Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide Levels."
We can’t see it, but it’s all around us. We need it to survive, yet we rarely think about it. Considering we spend 90% of our time indoors, isn’t it about time we know what’s in the air we breathe inside our homes?
Houses are being constructed to be tighter, better insulated and more energy efficient than ever before, but there’s a potential downside to that efficiency. Like people, our homes need to breathe – to release chemicals that can be trapped inside our homes, to replace the stale air with fresh, clean air. Without that proper air circulation, we are potentially breathing in dust, dander, pollen, smoke and even mold spores on a daily (and nightly) basis. Furnace filters and exhaust fans are great, but they can only do so much.
Here’s the Good News – There Is Something Homeowners Can Do About It
Some solutions are as simple as getting rid of household solvents that produce toxic gasses, like paint, bleach and ammonia. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers steps to reduce exposure in the home. But that’s just one of many pieces to the solution puzzle.
Advances in smart-home technology also have the potential to improve the air we breathe. From monitoring air quality and diagnostics, to easy mechanical fixes and connected smart solutions, homeowners can take more control of their home’s air quality.
The first step is to figure out what’s impacting a home’s air quality and how to fix it. There are several factors, and here are the main six:
- Temperature and Relative Humidity. Your comfort in your home is about so much more than the number on your thermostat. It’s a restful night of sleep (the optimal sleeping temperature is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s breathing in air that’s just right – versus it smelling musty, which is the result of too much moisture trapped in the home.
- Airborne Particles, and Chemical Odors and Other Smells. These are in every home. They come from outside and inside elements like the dirt the dog brings in, everyday cooking, newly painted surfaces and fragrances. Keeping them in check helps keep air quality fresh.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) . Whether it’s the air we’re breathing out at night, or the fumes from a leaky vent or chimney we’re breathing in, knowing the levels in our homes can be crucial to our air’s quality. By the way, you won’t even know if you have CO in your home unless you have a detector – it’s called the silent killer for a reason.
For those who want to keep a handle on indoor air quality, they can schedule a free consultation here with a local professional.