Indoor Air Quality

To protect ourselves against outdoor pollution like smoke, dust, smog and other pollutants, most of us seek the comfort of our homes and offices. But what if we tell you that the air inside our homes or workplaces is just as worse. Though you can’t see it, but you can smell it. It can aggravate, irritate and in some cases, can cause serious harm. Air quality experts estimate that indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor pollution. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your health.

Since our cave-dwelling days, some of the pollutants have been in human homes. Burning wood to create fire lead to the formation of harmful chemicals. Other pollutants have only been introduced to our homes in modern times which may arise due to the natural environment, including mould and bacteria. Microbial pollutants such as pollen, mould and pet hair can mix with volatile organic compound (VOCs) and develop toxic indoor environments. Poor quality of indoor air causes certain allergies and asthma. This may result in weakening your immune system and expose you to cold and other diseases. To eradicate the pollutants and improve indoor air quality, you should identify the major causes of Indoor pollution primarily.

Wherever indoor pollution comes from and whatever be its cause, identifying it can help you and your loved ones breathe easier. Risk of serious long term health problems can also be reduced through it. Below you can read about some of the common causes of indoor air pollution that you can know about for a safer and cleaner home.

1. Pollution Due To Household Cleaning Supplies

It may help you in keeping your home or office clean, but it can also be a cause of indoor air pollution. The chemicals in cleaning supplies start to circulate in the air you breathe as soon as you spray them indoors.

2. Carpet Fumes

When a new carpet is installed, sometimes it might release chemicals from the vinyl backing and the adhesive used to hold the carpet to the floor. This is known as off-gassing and some of these chemicals may trigger headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath and asthma. Though the majority of off-gassing takes place in the first few months of installation, but these chemicals can be released for as long as five years after the new carpet is installed. It is recommended to have heavy ventilation for at least three days after the carpet installation gets completed.

The carpeting may not be the best choice if you or your family are especially sensitive to these chemicals. You can opt for a carpet with natural fibers or opt for bare floors with rugs instead.

3. Paint and VOC’s

There is an abundance of volatile organic compound (VOC) in household paints. A fresh coat of paint may just do the trick of causing health problems in high concentrations. Now you understand, why you feel a headache after painting?

By the time that paint is dry, most of the VOC’s released in fresh paint is gone – but not all. Those which are lingering their may put you and your family at risk and are the cause of poor indoor air quality. You’ll be shocked to know that some of these pollutants such as methylene chloride and benzene are known carcinogens i.e linked with cancer.

4. Mould And Mildew Development

Mould formation in homes happens due to excessive moisture in the air. This can cause a serious problem when these microscopic spores in the mould mix with the indoor air you breathe causing potential health concerns. Ensure that the humidity levels in your home or office are not too high. Usage to dehumidifier to combat mould growth is also a great option.

5. Poor Ventilation

Sometimes, a poor ventilation system fails to circulate outdoor and indoor air properly. It is necessary to check for the air intakes and exhausts for each room to ensure that they are free of pollutants and dust. With the help of a proper ventilation system, you can easily reduce the amount of indoor pollutants in the air. Some air conditioning systems with built-in dehumidifiers can help in monitoring the humidity levels in your home or office.

6. Smoke from Cigarette

A single stick of cigarette contains a hundred of toxic substances which makes it one of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality. But this can be prevented by using air purifiers around the home or office and limiting the amount of cigarette smoke.

These were some of the major causes of poor indoor air quality. It is wise to eliminate these causes from your home either by yourself or if the problem is to a larger extent, than you can contact indoor air quality experts in UK. We at Better Indoors provide highly effective and affordable indoor air quality services and ventilation solution in UK.

For more info, you can contact us at 0333 014 7669 or you can fill the form below for expert’s consultation:

Research Indicates That Improving Indoor Air Quality May Positively Affect Cognitive Abilities As Well As Health

We all understand the importance of clean air in our surroundings. The pure and fresh air absolutely makes us feel better, as the oxygen we breathe reaches every single part of the body. Apart from the physical benefits it provides to our body, the clean air also help our brains to function at their best. A prominent group of researchers has conducted a study to observe the differences between the cognitive abilities of those living in conventional homes with tight envelopes of air, with those of residing in green buildings with better indoor air quality. A study published in a notable health journal showed that the subjects not only perform better on the cognitive tests while living in cleaner settings, but they also did significantly great in other physical activities as well.

The Adverse Effects Of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)?

Researchers were inspired to conduct this study based on the time span we spend indoors, which is nearly the 90% of our time and also the fact that some household interior environments can adversely affect our well being. The impact a household can have on our brain and body is a somewhat a recent phenomenon. Construction methods of home have changed to improve the energy efficiency, as the energy costs began to increase in the last third of the twentieth century. Though air tight building designs are structured to keep in the heating and cooling and lock out the elements, however they also trap in the airborne pollutants like mould, mildew and other allergens. We saw the emergence of the phenomenon called as Sick Building Syndrome(SBS) by the early 1980s. Sick Building Syndrome is a collection of symptoms such as cough, throat irritation, headache, achy muscles, tightness in chest, etc. which drastically affect the people working or living in a building. People suffering from SBS commonly experience relief upon leaving the said building structures. Poor air quality inside a home has become an increasingly prevalent health hazard as the years have passed and homes have become more airtight and energy efficient than earlier. This has resulted in health degradation and slow productivity of people living in such surroundings.

All The Factors That Affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Of Your Homes

Improper ventilation factors are not the only problems that affect the indoor air quality (IAQ). Other factors including exposure to allergens or humidity also contribute to the complaints related to brain and body health issues of the residents. Presence of materials that releases or emit volatile organic compounds such as paints and furniture are the another major problem. Of course, poor ventilation systems increase the risk of health degradation but the presence of allergens is a serious modern problem as well.

The occurrence of these health related problems associated with modern building designs has initiated new strategies for building and structures that are more green and sustainable. This is good for both the environment and the health of those who spend most of their time indoors. Besides the energy efficiency being a major factor, new significance has been provided to the use of low emitting materials, limiting the other sources of pollutants, and emphasizing on ventilation and filtration. Lower concentration of pollutants such as allergens, radon gas, nitrogen dioxide, VOC’s and particulate matter, has been reported in buildings with smartly monitored air indoor quality. Productivity in such spaces becomes higher and the people living in such premises report fewer symptoms when surveyed.

How To Easily Fix The Indoor Air Quality?

So what can you do about these potential problems related to air indoor quality of your home? Well if you are building a brand new home for yourself then you can talk with your builder or may take help of air quality experts and ventilation specialists to make sure there’s adequate ventilation in your future home. You can discuss the use of low VOC emitting building materials and furnishings with them and also inquire about the use of radon-resistant construction techniques or radon mitigation services to keep a check on radon gas development inside your home.

For those who live in an older existing home, especially those built before the 1980’s. they may need to have their home tested for the existence of VOC emitting materials such as asbestos or lead paint. And they should have their basement or crawl space tested for radon gas. For this, you can contact radon testing specialists or radon gas consultants to correct those issues.

People always want to make their homes environmentally healthy form inside and outside. Of course, you would like to take care of the lush greenery around our homes, but you also need to keep track of the air quality inside your property. This will certainly help in making it a place that’s healthy, comfortable and safe for you and your loved ones.

Suggested Read: How to Stop Condensation on Windows During Winter