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

May 22, 2020

We are often indoors. In fact, the EPA has found the majority of people spend 90% of their time indoors a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times worse than outside.

Poor indoor air quality can have a negative effect on your wellness. That’s why it’s essential to be able to spot the symptoms of bad air quality in your house, what causes it and how to repair it.

If you’re looking for ways to tell if your Drexel Hill home’s air quality is bad, our team of home comfort experts at O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can provide assistance. We’ll review the problems you’re experiencing and give strategies to make your house’s air healthier.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When you envision pollution, you typically think of smog. But common things within your house can make pollution by the gases or particles they release into the air.

These origins include:

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

Indoor air pollution can be intensified by insufficient ventilation in your residence, as well as hot temperatures and humidity. Today’s residences are firmly sealed for energy efficiency, which is a plus for your heating and cooling costs but not so good when you need extra fresh air indoors.

Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?

Because people respond differently to indoor air pollutants, you may develop symptoms right away or later. Your symptoms may alleviate when you leave your house but get worse when you return.

Some of the most usual immediate issues include:

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

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, their symptoms could be heightened.

Continuous or prolonged exposure may result in respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.

Other Signs of Low Indoor Air Quality and How to Improve It

Your home will also indicate that its air isn’t as fresh as it could be.

  1. Your residence is very dusty, notably close to the vents. It’s expected for your residence to get dusty during the week, but accumulation around your air registers should be concerning. There are other substances within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can impact your health, especially if you deal with allergies or asthma. A better-quality air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help reduce dust and other aggravating pollutants.
  2. Your house has hot and cold areas. Your heating and cooling system may be struggling to maintain correct temperature and humidity levels. Or there could be air distribution issues because of your home comfort unit or ductwork. Our O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning specialists can locate the trouble and recommend repairs or replacement.
  3. Your home’s air seems too dry or too wet. We recommend having your residence’s humidity percentage around 30–40% for optimum comfort. If your house isn’t humid enough during the winter, your skin and throat could feel itchy. You might also have colds and other respiratory illnesses more frequently. If your home is too humid during the summer, you could have more mold and mildew growth, both of which are bad for your health. You can combat these troubles with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which works with your home comfort system to give balanced humidity across your house.
  4. Your house has odors that stick around. You could detect a stuffy scent when you come home. Or a cooking odor that just won’t go away. Since it’s not practical to open your windows all day, a whole-home ventilation system can get your house smelling good again. It exchanges musty inside air with fresh outdoor air.

Other strategies the EPA suggests doing include keeping your house smoke-free, adding carbon monoxide alarms and tuning up your home comfort equipment. Annual furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your systems clean and efficient and can even help them work for a longer amount of time.

We Can Help Improve Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

If you believe your home has an air quality issue, give our O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning HVAC pros a call at 610-257-7035 or contact us online. We’re ready to chat with you about options and give you a free estimate.