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

May 22, 2020

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

Poor indoor air quality can have an adverse effect on your wellness. That’s why it’s critical to recognize the symptoms of inferior air quality in your home, what causes it and how to repair it.

If you’re wondering how you can tell if your Omaha home’s air quality is bad, our team of heating and cooling pros at Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We’ll go over the issues you’re running into and offer strategies to make your residence’s air better.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When you think of pollution, you typically think of smog. But everyday items within your house can lead to pollution by the gases or particles they let into the air.

These sources include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cleaning, personal care and hobby products
  • Combustion appliances, like a furnace or stove that runs on gas
  • Dust, animal dander and pollen
  • Excess moisture
  • HVAC equipment
  • Recently placed flooring or carpeting
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Man-made building materials, including furniture made from pressed wood

Indoor air pollution can be intensified by not enough ventilation in your house, as well as high temperatures and humidity. Modern houses are tightly sealed for energy efficiency, which is good for your heating and cooling bill but not so good when you need additional fresh air indoors.

Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?

Because people are affected differently by indoor air pollutants, you might have symptoms right away or in the future. Your symptoms can alleviate when you leave your residence but get worse when you return.

Some of the most regular immediate symptoms involve:

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

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

Constant 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 house will also indicate that its air isn’t as fresh as it should be.

  1. Your home is extremely dusty, particularly close to the vents. It’s normal for your home to get dusty over the week, but buildup near your air registers should be troubling. There are other things within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can impact your health, particularly if you struggle with allergies or asthma. A premium air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help reduce dust and other irritating pollutants.
  2. Your home has hot and cold spots. Your heating and cooling unit may be failing to maintain appropriate temperature and humidity amounts. Or there may be air distribution problems due to your HVAC system or ductwork. Our Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning professionals can find the problem and advise repairs or replacement.
  3. Your home’s air feels too dry or too wet. We advise having your home’s humidity range around 30–40% for ideal comfort. If your home isn’t humid enough during cold temperatures, your skin and throat may feel scratchy. You might also battle colds and other respiratory illnesses more often. If your residence is too humid during warm weather, you may have higher mold and mildew growth, both of which are harmful to your well-being. You can combat these issues with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which pairs your heating and cooling unit to provide balanced humidity across your home.
  4. Your home has odors that stick around. You could catch a stuffy smell when you arrive. Or a cooking smell that just won’t dissipate. Since it’s not feasible to keep your windows open all the time, a whole-home ventilation system can get your home smelling fresh again. It exchanges stale inside air with fresh outdoor air.

Other approaches the EPA advises taking include keeping your home smoke-free, adding carbon monoxide alarms and servicing your heating and cooling system. Routine furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your equipment clean and efficient and may even help them run for a greater amount of time.

We Can Help Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

If you believe your house has an air quality problem, give our Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning HVAC specialists a call at 402-509-5940 or contact us online. We’re ready to chat with you about solutions and give you a free estimate.