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4 Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality and What to Do About Each

You might suffer from poor air quality in your New Bern, North Carolina, home and not even realize it. You might notice that you have excess dust buildup on your furniture or floors or higher energy bills. Or maybe someone in your home regularly has allergy-like symptoms every time they’re inside the home. You should be aware of these common causes of poor indoor air quality so that you can eliminate them from your home:

Pet Dander

Pets make wonderful companions for kids and adults, but they can impact your indoor air quality. Many people are allergic to pet dander, which is small pieces of dead skin shed by cats, dogs, rabbits and most other animals. It can end up on your carpeting, bedding, furniture and clothing. Even if you don’t have pets, you could be exposed to pet dander from walking outside or spending time with people who have pets.

To minimize pet dander, ask people to take off their shoes when they enter your home. If your family has pets, use a grooming service to get them bathed and brushed regularly. With a little patience, even cats can get used to a regular bath.

You should also dust and vacuum regularly and keep your pets away from your furniture and bedding as much as possible. Small animals like mice or hamsters won’t produce as much dander as dogs or cats, and they’ll be comfortable in a small enclosure that will prevent them from spreading this allergen around your home.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds, also called VOCs, off-gas or evaporate at low temperatures. These substances include noxious chemicals like:

  • Acetone.
  • Toluene.
  • Benzene.
  • Xylene.
  • Formaldehyde.

Having these harsh chemicals in your indoor air can lead to dizziness, headaches, fatigue or difficulty breathing. Many regular household items contain VOCs, including:

  • Glues.
  • Air fresheners.
  • Cleaners.
  • Varnishes and paints.
  • Pesticides.
  • Fuels.

To avoid them, use VOC-free or nontoxic products when possible.

Essential oils and potpourri make excellent air fresheners. You can also simmer some cinnamon sticks on your stove or bake some cookies. Baking soda and water can remove many tough stains, and olive oil combined with lemon juice makes a great furniture polish. Even closed containers with VOCs will off-gas slowly into your home’s air. Therefore, you should keep them in a garage or a storage shed not connected to your HVAC system. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation when you use them.

Inadequate Ventilation

Modern homes have excellent insulation to help them save energy and minimize utility costs. Unfortunately, they can trap pet dander, VOCs, dust, dirt, and other pollutants along with conditioned air. Without good ventilation, these contaminants can reduce your indoor air quality and cause health problems. You can:

  • Use exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Open your doors and windows.
  • Have an energy recovery ventilator, or ERV, installed in your home.

ERVs remove stale air and any contaminants, replacing these things with fresh air. Using an ERV is much more efficient than leaving your windows open, and it filters outdoor pollutants like car exhaust and pollen away from fresh air. ERVs also have heat exchangers similar to heat pumps. They condition incoming air by transferring heat to or from outgoing air, lowering your utility bills and preventing wear on your HVAC system.

A Dirty Air Filter

If your heater or air conditioner’s air filter is dirty, it could spread the contaminants it normally catches through your ductwork and the rest of your home. A dirty air filter can impact your indoor air quality and reduce your HVAC system’s airflow. To keep your indoor air quality high and prevent dirty ductwork and uncomfortable, inconvenient breakdowns, change your system’s air filter at least every few months.

J & J Mechanical, Inc. is a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer with decades of heating, cooling and indoor air quality experience. We can help your family stay comfortable and keep your home’s air quality high. For excellent service, call us anytime at 888-716-0052.

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