Poor Indoor Air Quality; Why it Matters and How to Improve IAQ
Have you ever wondered what exactly is meant by poor indoor air quality (IAQ)? Many people find that as long as they aren’t plagued by foul smells, stuffy air, or obvious mold and mildew issues, then “poor air quality” is not really a pressing concern.
However, poor indoor air quality can be a major contributor to or even the primary cause of a wide range of health problems. If you experience headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, nasal congestion or respiratory problems, then your indoor air quality could be worse than you assume. Even without these symptoms, it’s possible you are being exposed to indoor air pollutants that can have long-term negative health effects.
Improving your home’s indoor air quality not only makes your home a more pleasant place to be, but could also help to alleviate some common health issues and make the environment in your home a healthier space. While many people opt for an air purifying system that uses either a UV air purifier or a HEPA filter, the superior option for improving indoor air quality is a system that utilizes them both, along with providing sufficient ventilation.
Health Effects of Poor IAQ
According to the EPA, negative health effects from indoor air pollutants “may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.” As symptoms can vary widely from person to person and depend on factors including preexisting medical conditions, allergies and individual sensitivities, it can be difficult to identify that these symptoms are resulting from exposure to poor indoor air quality.
Some common health effects include:
Immediate Reactions: When indoor air pollutants cause immediate reactions, it is often apparent, as removal from the environment provides relief. These types of reactions can be the result of an individual’s high level of sensitivity to particular biological or chemical pollutants, or an especially high concentration of a pollutant. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, or shortness of breath and are often treatable simply by removing the source and eliminating exposure.
Asthma and Allergy Symptoms: The same pollutants that cause poor indoor air quality can also trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. For example, 6 out of 10 people are exposed to pollen trapped indoors, which can irritate the eyes and airways of people with pollen allergies. Mold, pet dander, and dust mites are also common triggers for respiratory issues.
Risks of Formaldehyde Exposure: The CDC recently warned about exposure to high levels of formaldehyde leaching from certain types of laminate flooring. In addition to posing a serious cancer risk, high formaldehyde levels in your home can cause respiratory, eye, throat and nose irritation.
Cancer Resulting From Radon Exposure: The federal government recommends that you measure radon levels in your home, as this colorless, odorless gas is otherwise impossible to detect. Exposure to radon has a direct and quantifiable correlation to lung cancer. The EPA estimates about 15,000 people die each year from lung cancer that is a direct result of Radon exposure induced lunch cancer.
Common indoor air pollutants can also cause serious or even fatal long term health problems, including respiratory and heart diseases or cancer. At this time, it is not clear what concentrations of particular pollutants over what period of time will result in negative health effects.
As there is no known “safe” level of exposure to indoor air pollutants, physicians and environmental and health protection agencies agree homeowners should take action to improve indoor air quality in the home, even in the absence of obvious problems.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
There are several actions you can take to improve the indoor air quality of your home. The best solution depends on what is causing poor indoor air quality in the first place and how and when the home was built, but the most effective solutions will utilize a combination of all of the following tactics.
Source Control: Reducing the amount of contaminants coming into your home will certainly improve IAQ. Simple indoor air purification tips for maintaining your air quality include keeping your floor clean, avoiding smoking in the home, and maintaining an indoor humidity level of around 60%. However, there is no way to completely eliminate all sources of indoor air pollution.
Weatherization: Weatherizing your home by installing storm windows, weather stripping, caulking, and insulation will reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool your house. However, weatherization can also trap indoor air pollutants that come from sources inside the house, worsening indoor air quality, so ventilation is imperative, especially in a well-sealed space.
Ventilation: Ventilation should be used to expel airborne particulates coming from indoor sources. Removing polluted, stale air and replacing it with fresh air is an important step in improving indoor air. While natural ventilation occurs in all homes to some extent through open windows and doors, using a whole-house mechanical ventilation unit will ensure air circulation is both consistent and sufficient.
Air Purifiers (HEPA and UV): HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters remove dust, dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and bacteria, but cannot remove many chemical fumes, gases and viruses. A UV Air Purifier uses ultraviolet rays to destroy microorganisms including viruses, bacteria & mold.
An indoor air purifier that uses both a HEPA filter along with a UV air purifier is the most effective way to filter out the majority of indoor air pollutants. A HEPA filter will trap airborne particles, while the UV light destroys the remaining bacteria, viruses and other biological contaminants that are not removed by the HEPA filter.
Choosing The Best Whole Home Air Purification To Improve IAQ
Unlike other purifiers, WAVE Air Purifiers utilize a unique 6-stage process that includes HEPA and a UV air purifier to provide superior purification for a noticeable improvement of indoor air quality:
- Washable Pre-Filter: designed to capture large particles.
- H12 Class HEPA Filter: removes 99.5% of airborne particulates such as dust mites, pet dander, and pollen.
- Carbon Filter: removes odors
- TI02 Catalyst: combined with UV light, destroys VOCs and chemicals
- Patented dual-wavelength “J” Lamp: the UV air purifier utilizes UV-V and UV-C light along with a built-in reflector to destroy 99% of a broad range of bacteria, viruses, mold, gases, and aerosols.
- 2 Million/cc Negative Ion Output: provides a final stage of superior pollen removal and particulate filtration.
The WAVE Purification Unit also utilizes Smart Sensing Technology, allowing for constant monitoring of the air and automatic control of the unit’s operation to optimize total efficiency and effectiveness.
If you want to learn more about the importance of indoor air quality and ways to improve it, get in touch with WAVE Home Solutions. We can help you find an air purification system that’s suitable for your home, so you can maintain good indoor air quality.
Cleaner, healthier air in your home starts with the right air purifier. Learn how to choose with our free buyer’s guide!