Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Impact Air Quality and How to Enhance It

Residences today are designed with energy efficiency in mind. This entails more insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep energy expenses reasonable. While this is positive for your energy bill, it’s not so fantastic for your indoor air quality.

Because air has reduced chances to escape, contaminants can increase and impact your house’s indoor air quality. In fact, your house’s air can actually be 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s specifically detrimental for relatives with allergies, asthma, other respiratory disorders or heart disease.

Let’s discuss some of these common pollutants and how you can improve your residence’s indoor air quality.

6 Common Pollutants that Affect Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you could think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that influence your air quality are common products. These things have chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They include:

  1. Cleaning products, like aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, including hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other typical pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more affected by VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

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

In extreme cases, the EPA says VOCs can cause respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t difficult to improve your home’s air quality. Here are a few recommendations from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your Residence Frequently

Regularly cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help reduce on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your home.

2. Regularly Change Your Air Filter

This essential filter keeps your home cozy and air clean. How often you should change your air filter depends on the style of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped monthly, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re unsure if your filter should be changed, pull it out and hold it up to the light. Install a new one if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your house suffers from allergies or asthma, we advise using a filter with a greater MERV rating. The bigger the number this is, the better your filter is at getting rid of contaminants.

3. Improve Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also recommend using exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen often to get rid of pollutants and draw in more fresh air.

4. Talk with Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, Niagara Home Services by Enercare has a fix to help your family breathe better. We’ll help you find the right option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 289-273-2229 to schedule yours today!