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5 Signs Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality is Making You Sick

Most Americans spend around 90 percent of their time inside, yet they have no idea how the quality of air inside their home is affecting them. From never using their kitchen range hood to burning candles inside, there are activities that people do inside their Candler, NC homes every day that worsen their indoor air quality and exacerbate conditions like allergies and asthma.

What is IAQ?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the air quality inside your home and how it relates to your health. Sources of indoor air pollution that lower IAQ include cleaning products, furnaces, tobacco products, and even outdoor pollutants like pesticides. In North Carolina, indoor air quality is affected from other factors such as humidity. Too much humidity and your home can become a breeding ground for mildew, mold, viruses, and bacteria. On the other hand, too little humidity and the air becomes too dry and dust can easily circulate and accumulate.

Headache and Sinus Congestion

If you’re suffering from sinus congestion or headaches it could be from vents that aren’t properly clearing out combustion gases or particles. While you may think you’re keeping your air clean by using the vent above your cooktop or gas range, if it’s not installed properly and maintained then it’s releasing harmful particles into the air.

The same also holds true if your furnace or fireplace isn’t vented properly. Additionally, when someone smokes inside your home the nicotine from the cigarette will stick to every indoor surface including the carpets, curtains, and walls. Other compounds in cigarettes such as ammonia and formaldehyde are known to irritate the throat and lungs.

To prevent these issues you should open a window or run the exhaust hood when you’re cleaning your oven or using your gas range. Have your chimney cleaned annually before you use it to make sure it’s venting properly. Finally, you should ban smoking inside your house.

Nausea and Dizziness

While we think we’re doing some good in our household by using cleaning products, these items could actually be ruining the air quality in our home. Household cleaners can contain chemicals that not only cause nausea and dizziness, but more serious health issues such as cancer. These can include irritants and other volatile organic compounds.

To reduce pollution by household cleaners, open a window or use a fan when you’re using these products. Consider making your own cleaning products with natural ingredients. For example, baking soda and vinegar can be mixed together to clean toilets and one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar mixed with one quart of water will make glass cleaner.

Nose, Eye, Throat, and Skin Irritation

Even though candles, incense, and air fresheners leave our homes smelling good, they can also cause irritation to our nose, eyes, throats, and skin. Additionally, some air fresheners can contain phthalates. These harmful chemicals have been linked to reproductive issues and some cancers. The soot and other particles released into the air from burning incense and scented candles can also bring on asthma attacks and even cause an allergic reaction.

If there’s someone in your house who suffers from asthma or allergies you should avoid using incense, candles, and air fresheners. If you can’t open the windows to let fresh air take care of any odors, you can run your air conditioner with a clean air filter instead.

How Can I Improve My IAQ?

Another simple step you can take to improve the IAQ in your home: regularly change the air filter in your HVAC system. Not only do these filters help your system run more efficiently, they also trap dust, mold, mildew, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful pollutants before they enter your breathing space. If you have pets or someone in your household with a respiratory illness, you should change your air filter every month.

If you want to know more about IAQ, contact the professionals at Nicholson Company at 828-697-2638 to learn about their full line of IAQ solutions.