Signs Your Home Has Low Indoor Air Quality and How to Fix It

May 22, 2020

We are indoors a lot. In fact, the EPA has calculated many people spend 90% of their time within a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times more polluted than outside.

Bad indoor air quality can have a negative influence on your health. That’s why it’s essential to identify the signs of bad air quality in your residence, what leads to it and how to fix it.

If you want to know how you can tell if your Tucson home’s air quality is bad, our team of home comfort experts at Ambient Air can assist you. We’ll go through the issues you’re experiencing and give strategies to make your house’s air better.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When you envision pollution, you typically think of smog. But everyday things within your home can produce pollution by the gases or particles they let into the air.

These sources involve:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cleaning, personal care and hobby items
  • Combustion appliances, for example a furnace or stove that uses gas
  • Dust, animal dander and pollen
  • Excess moisture
  • HVAC units
  • Recently installed flooring or carpeting
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Synthetic building materials, including furniture constructed from pressed wood

Indoor air pollution can be exacerbated by a lack of ventilation in your residence, as well as warm temperatures and humidity. Recently built houses are tightly sealed for energy conservation, which is good for your energy costs but not so great when you require more fresh air indoors.

Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?

Because people are affected differently by indoor air pollutants, you might develop symptoms immediately or later on. Your symptoms can go away when you leave your residence but get worse when you return.

Some of the most regular immediate symptoms deal with:

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

If someone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma, their symptoms could be more severe.

Continuous or lengthy exposure could cause respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.

Other Indications of Poor Indoor Air Quality and How to Improve It

Your home will also signal that its air isn’t as clean as it needs to be.

  1. Your home is very dusty, particularly by the vents. It’s normal for your residence to get dusty during the week, but accumulation by your air registers should be concerning. There are other particles within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can impact your health, especially if you deal with allergies or asthma. A premium air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help lower the concentration of dust and other aggravating pollutants.
  2. Your residence has hot and cold rooms. Your heating and cooling unit could be failing to maintain correct temperature and humidity levels. Or there could be air distribution issues as a result of your home comfort system or ductwork. Our Ambient Air specialists can locate the issue and recommend repairs or replacement.
  3. Your house’s air feels too dry or too wet. We suggest keeping your home’s humidity levels around 30–40% for optimal comfort. If your house isn’t humid enough during cold temperatures, your skin and throat can feel scratchy. You might also experience colds and other respiratory illnesses more frequently. If your home is too humid during warm weather, you could have increased mold and mildew growth, both of which are bad for your wellness. You can fight these problems with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which pairs your home comfort unit to deliver appropriate humidity throughout your residence.
  4. Your residence has odors that stick around. You may catch a musty odor when you get home. Or a cooking scent that just won’t dissipate. Since it’s not practical to open your windows all day, a whole-home ventilation system can get your house smelling good again. It substitutes musty inside air with fresh outdoor air.

Other steps the EPA suggests taking include keeping your residence smoke-free, getting carbon monoxide alarms and maintaining your heating and cooling unit. Annual furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your equipment clean and efficient and could even help them work for a longer amount of time.

We Can Help Enhance Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

If you think your house has an air quality issue, give our Ambient Air HVAC experts a call at 520-201-3871 or contact us online. We’re available to chat with you about solutions and offer a free estimate.