When you think of air pollution, outdoor environments may come to mind. But contaminants can pose risks in your house, too. If your indoor air quality in New Bern, NC, is deteriorating, you may notice these four signs:
Dust Buildup on Surfaces
One sign of deteriorating air quality in your home is dust accumulation on surfaces. While some dust is normal, a sudden increase on shelves and upholstery is usually a sign of increased indoor pollution.
Dust typically consists of dead skin cells and droppings from dust mites. They feed on skin cells and generate dust that acts as an allergen. The American Lung Association cites dust mite droppings as the leading triggers for people with asthma and allergies.
Your AC filter could be the source of dust buildup on surfaces in the house. A filter that needs replacement will have grayish debris and particles facing the ductwork. Ideally, you should replace it every one to three months.
Dry Skin or Irritation
Another sign of poor indoor air quality is flaking or dry skin. It may be due to the high temperatures and occasional dry air in Craven County’s summer.
Household chemicals have volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that may cause skin irritation and dryness. Adhesives and paints are some of the sources of VOCs. If you have been remodeling your home recently, these pollutants could be the reason for your dry skin.
Other health effects of VOCs include headaches and loss of coordination. Reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest that VOCs can be up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors.
You can reduce the risk of exposure by improving ventilation, especially during renovations. Always use household products according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you can’t identify the source of the compounds, consider installing an indoor air quality monitor in New Bern. Thousands of products produce VOC pollutants, which can remain in the house for weeks or even months.
Sneezing and Cold-Like Symptoms
People with respiratory conditions may experience sneezing and cold-like symptoms. Sneezing and coughing could be the usual symptoms of a cold or the flu. But if the irritation continues for more than a week, the most likely cause is poor indoor air quality.
Sneezing and nausea could also be the effects of dust or VOC exposure. Pollutants like particulate matter can be severe, especially for people with respiratory conditions.
The EPA singles out inhalable particles of less than 10 micrometers as the biggest concern for people with heart and lung conditions. The smaller particles can get deep into the lungs and may complicate symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The source of particulate matter is often combustion activities like cooking or even smoking cigarettes. You can minimize the risk of exposure by improving the venting of appliances such as stoves or fireplaces. An annual inspection of combustion equipment is one of the best ways to manage particulate levels indoors.
Unusual Odors From Microbial Infestation
Finally, if you notice an unusual odor in parts of your home, it’s usually an indication of microbial infestation. Pets and human occupants may introduce bacteria and viruses into the building. Other biological pollutants include pollen and pet dander.
The primary source of biological contamination is high levels of relative humidity indoors. It could be from standing water or a leaking pipe. Your AC system may also be inefficient at regulating rising relative humidity levels in the summer.
As with other contaminants, pinpointing the source is the most critical step. You may opt to acquire a dehumidifier to address moisture issues indoors. Exhaust fans can be invaluable for controlling moisture in the bathroom or laundry room.
It’s a good idea to schedule an assessment of your home for indoor air pollutants before taking any action. Sometimes a thorough tuneup of your HVAC system is enough to restore home comfort. Contact J & J Mechanical, Inc. for top-notch AC services and home comfort solutions in New Bern, NC.
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