Popular air pollution terms such as smog, ozone, and carbon dioxide are commonly mistaken as the main culprit for health concerns. Studies show that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors: sleeping, working, cooking, watching television – we even often work out and exercise at an indoor gym! It should come as no surprise that the indoor air quality is just as important, if not more, than the outdoor air quality we encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Poor indoor air quality has been tied to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. These symptoms lead to a less productive employee or a restless night’s sleep. In addition to the common pollutants such as pollen and pet dander, hazardous indoor toxins include the following: formaldehyde, mold, radon, fire-retardants, volatile organic compound (VOCs), and lead (in house dust). These dangers can be introduced via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls. In fact, these toxins exist in most homes, businesses, and public establishments.
Indoor Air Quality Helps Buildings Breathe
No different than a human being, a building needs to breathe. The air duct system in your home or office acts as the lungs of the structure. High levels of pollutants can cause an obstruction in the ventilation and effect the circulation of fresh air. To help your building breathe easier, we have put together a few tips for improving your indoor air quality:
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
1. Make your building a no-smoking zone. “Probably the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution is secondhand cigarette smoke,” says Philip Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Make sure people refrain from smoking at least 20 feet away from all entrances; otherwise the toxins can still be carried within the building.
2. Maintain clean floors. Using a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter ensures that dust and dirt will be captured before entering the air. Use floor mats at doors to reduce the amount of pollutants people track in from their shoes. Stay away from cleaning products with a lemony or piney scent – synthetic products and air fresheners emit dozens of hazardous chemicals into the air!
3. Keep an eye on humidity levels. Key humidity levels for inside a building should be around 30-50%. A dehumidifier and air conditioning can help you maintain a healthy humidity amount indoors. If the levels elevate, you could run into a moisture issue that can lead to mold growth. For hassle-free mold remediation, contact our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc.
4. Test your indoor air for radon. Radon is an invisible gas that causes lung cancer. Exposure to radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, after smoking. It can be emitted from the ground, cracks in walls, basement floors, and other openings. Radon comes from rock and soil and is often found outdoors, but if it becomes trapped in a building, it can build up to hazardous concentrations.
5. Get the air ducts cleaned. As mentioned previously, the air ducts in a building are equivalent to lungs… and every building needs to be able to breathe in order to circulate fresh air to the indoor habitants. The common and hazardous pollutants can build up over time in the ducting system, but many people overlook an air duct cleaning service because you cannot see inside the ducts without investigating. By inviting a professional, accredited air duct cleaning company into your building, you can significantly improve your indoor air quality. Call Airtek Indoor Air Solutions at 1-877-858-6213 for a free quote on air duct cleaning.
The right ventilation and proper building care can prevent and fix indoor air quality problems. With these tips, your building should be on its way to providing cleaner, healthier indoor air to you and your employees or loved ones.