Signs Your Residence Has Bad Indoor Air Quality and How to Fix It

May 22, 2020

We spend a lot of time indoors. In fact, the EPA has found most people spend 90% of their day indoors a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times poorer than outside.

Bad indoor air quality can have a negative influence on your health. That’s why it’s essential to identify the warnings of poor air quality in your house, what leads to it and how to take care of it.

If you want to know how you can tell if your Des Moines home’s air quality is bad, our team of home comfort pros at Heartland Heating & Cooling can help. We’ll review the issues you’re running into and offer ideas to make your residence’s air better.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When you picture pollution, you generally think of smog. But ordinary products in your house can lead to pollution by the gases or particles they let into the air.

These sources consist of:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cleaning, personal care and hobby items
  • Combustion appliances, such as a furnace or stove that consumes gas
  • Dust, animal dander and pollen
  • Excess moisture
  • HVAC equipment
  • Recently installed flooring or carpeting
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Man-made building materials, like furniture manufactured from pressed wood

Indoor air pollution can be exacerbated by insufficient ventilation in your residence, as well as hot temperatures and humidity. Recently built homes are securely sealed for energy conservation, which is good for your utility costs but not so great when you have to have extra fresh air inside.

Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?

Because people are affected differently by indoor air pollutants, you could experience symptoms immediately or later. Your symptoms can lessen when you leave your house but come back when you return.

Some of the most regular immediate issues include:

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

If someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, their symptoms could be worse.

Continuous or long-term exposure can result in respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.

Other Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality and How to Fix It

Your house will also give you some signs that its air isn’t as clean as it should be.

  1. Your house is excessively dusty, particularly by the vents. It’s expected for your residence to get dusty over the week, but buildup close to your air registers should be troubling. There are other things within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can impact your health, especially if you deal with allergies or asthma. A higher-quality air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help cut down on dust and other irritating pollutants.
  2. Your home has hot and cold spots. Your HVAC system might be having difficulty maintaining proper temperature and humidity amounts. Or there might be air distribution issues due to your heating and cooling system or ductwork. Our Heartland Heating & Cooling pros can pinpoint the issue and suggest repairs or replacement.
  3. Your home’s air seems too dry or too wet. We suggest keeping your residence’s humidity percentage near 30–40% for ideal comfort. If your house isn’t humid enough during cold temperatures, your skin and throat might feel scratchy. You might also experience colds and other respiratory illnesses more frequently. If your residence is too humid during hot temperatures, you could have increased mold and mildew growth, both of which are harmful to your wellness. You can fight these issues with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which pairs your heating and cooling equipment to deliver balanced humidity around your residence.
  4. Your residence has lingering odors. You might catch a stuffy scent when you arrive. Or a cooking smell that just won’t disperse. Since it’s not practical to have your windows open all the time, a whole-home ventilation system can get your home smelling fresh again. It replaces stale inside air with fresh outdoor air.

Other approaches the EPA suggests doing include keeping your home smoke-free, getting carbon monoxide alarms and tuning up your heating and cooling system. Annual furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your units clean and efficient and could even help them run for a longer amount of time.

We Can Help Boost Your Residence’s Indoor Air Quality

If you think your house has air quality trouble, give our Heartland Heating & Cooling HVAC experts a call at 515-344-3579 or contact us online. We’re available to discuss options and give you a free estimate.