Did you know that the quality of your indoor air can have an impact on your health? In addition to exercising and eating right, the quality of the air you’re breathing is important to preventing illness inside your home. Here are a few signs of poor air quality to look for, from the HVAC experts at Cox Air.
Illness and Fatigue
For homeowners who are predisposed to seasonal allergies, you know when to stock up on allergy medications. However, when you experience allergy-like symptoms and illnesses outside of the typical allergy season, it could be something in your home that’s making you sick. Poor air quality can cause symptoms like a sore throat, running nose, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. Homeowners can also develop insomnia, sleep apnea, and snoring problems because of poor air quality. Studies involving office environments have shown that breathing pure air increases alertness and productivity while poor air quality induces fatigue and lethargy.
Dust and Allergens
The most common culprits of poor air quality are airborne allergens. Dust, dander, and mold spores are airborne particulates that will contaminate your air and make you sick. Dust and dander can build up inside your ductwork and vents, clogging your system and recycling poor quality air throughout the home. Clogged ducts and filters force your HVAC to work harder, which can drive up your monthly energy costs. Mold is a very dangerous allergen that thrives in moisture-rich rooms like your bathroom, basement, and kitchen cabinets. If left unchecked, mold can take over a home and cause serious respiratory problems like asthma and COPD.
High Humidity Levels
In the Southeast, where summer storms create increased outdoor humidity levels, maintaining indoor comfort can be a challenge. High indoor humidity levels increase the risks of developing upper respiratory infections and asthma. High humidity makes you sweat more and increases oil secretions from your pores. Mold and mildew also love areas of high humidity. To prevent microbial growth and improve indoor air quality, try to keep your indoor humidity levels between 35 and 50 percent. Lowering the thermostat can help lower humidity levels, or you can use a stand-alone dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
If you’ve taken out the trash and still notice a foul smell in your home, it could be another sign of indoor air pollution. Mold and mildew have very distinct smells, but stagnant air is another type of air pollution. It’s more common during the winter months when people spend more time indoors with the windows closed.
Clogged Air Filters
When was the last time you changed your air filter? If you can’t remember, the chances are that could be the reason why your air quality is suffering. As mentioned earlier, a clogged filter makes your AC work hard, but it’s also a breeding ground for mold and allergens. Filters should be changed at least once every 90 days, or every 30 days if you have pets. A high-quality HEPA filter is designed to trap dust, pet dander, and pollen, as well as airborne viruses, bacteria, and mold spores.