Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Impact Air Quality and How to Make It Better

Houses today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This involves added insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep utility expenses down. While this is positive for your energy bill, it’s not so good for your indoor air quality.

Because air has reduced chances to escape, pollutants can accumulate and affect your residence’s indoor air quality. In actuality, your residence’s air can actually be 2–5 times more unhealthy than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s specifically detrimental for relatives with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s go over some of these common contaminants and how you can boost your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you might think about smog or tobacco smoke. But a lot of substances that affect your air quality are common products. These things contain chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

  1. Cleaning products, including aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, including hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is frequently used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, particularly when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other common pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more influenced by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

In extreme cases, the EPA says VOCs can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Improve Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t difficult to boost your house’s air quality. Here are a couple of suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Home Frequently

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help cut down on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your residence.

2. Frequently Switch Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your house comfortable and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you install. Flat filters should be changed every month, while pleated filters should be replaced every three months. If you don’t know if your filter should be changed, pull it out and angle it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your residence deals with allergies or asthma, we recommend installing a filter with a greater MERV rating. The bigger the number this is, the better your filter is at removing contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air in your home by opening windows whenever the weather allows. We also recommend turning on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen frequently to eliminate pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers to HEPA filters, Gordon's Service Experts has a solution to help your loved ones breathe more freely. We’ll help you find the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Contact us at 405-432-2197 to request yours now!

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