10 Important Facts You Will Want to Know About Indoor Air Quality

young man sitting cross-legged on the floor coughing

young man sitting crosslegged on the floor with his computer coughing

I don’t want to scare you, but if you know about a problem, you’re likely to fix it, right?

Indoor air quality is a problem. Our houses are often closed up most of the time, trapping air that is filled with chemical residues, smoke, and outside air pollution. Many people spend far more time inside than they do outside.

Here are 10 important facts you will want to know about indoor air quality…a short list of why you need to be concerned about the air you breathe inside your home.

Indoor air quality defies your expectations

You’d think that the inside air would be better than the air outside, wouldn’t you?

Outside air, after all, is filled with fuel fumes from the millions of cars in our area. Air is polluted with emissions from factories and manufacturers as well as with methane gas from solid waste landfills. Most of us have heard about smog and air pollution for most of our lives.

Get this.

Fact #1:

Indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.

The air that you breathe inside your home is way worse than what you breathe outside. Worse yet, most people spend 90% of their time indoors!

Fact #2:

Poor indoor air quality can cause serious health problems: Breathing in polluted air can cause a range of health issues, including respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. In some cases, exposure to certain pollutants can even cause cancer or other serious illnesses.

Fact #3:

Think about this.

Each time you spray a bit of cologne, hairspray, or a household cleaner, you are putting chemicals into your air and some of those chemicals go into your lungs.

Tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, and cleaning products contribute to poor air quality by making your air less pure. Building materials, carpets, and upholstery fabrics all contain Formaldehyde, flame retardants, glues, and dyes that emit pollutants into our indoor areas.

Fact #4:

Moisture is good for your skin, right? The more humid your home is, the better, right?

Wrong.

Mayo Clinic believes that the right amount of humidity inside your home is 30-50% of all the moisture it could hold.

Too much humidity furthers the growth of mold and mildew which cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Low humidity levels, on the other hand, can cause dry skin, irritate the respiratory system, and make people more susceptible to colds and other illnesses.

Maintaining the correct humidity level in your house is one way to improve air quality.

Fact #5:

Good indoor air quality can only be achieved with proper ventilation. Air that is properly circulating removes pollutants from indoor air and brings fresh, clean air in. It’s good to have tightly sealed buildings to save energy, but tightly sealed buildings must be balanced with good air circulation so that air doesn’t become stagnant.

Fact #6:

Do you know what Radon is?

Radon is a common and very serious indoor air pollutant.

I don’t mean to scare you, but this is serious stuff.

According to the US EPA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths per year.

Radon occurs naturally when uranium in the ground breaks down. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can seep into buildings through cracks and gaps in the foundation, so it may be getting into your home, and you don’t know it.

Fact #7:

Are you a smoker? Does anyone in your household smoke? Have you ever had a party where people smoked inside? Or where people smoked outside and the doors were open?

Secondhand smoke is another common, major indoor air pollutant, and there are thousands of studies that show that secondhand smoke is detrimental to our health. (The definition for secondhand smoke is smoke you involuntarily inhale from tobacco that others may have smoked.)

Now, this is truly alarming.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and can cause cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, and other health issues.

Fact #8:

The products you use inside your home may be hurting you.

Yes, cleanliness is a good thing, but did you know that with each spritz of a bottle, you may be putting chemicals harmful to your lungs into the air you breathe?

Household cleaners, especially liquids and aerosol sprays, produce gases known as VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds. Even air fresheners can have phthalates in them, a chemical often found in scented items.

Those gases float around in the air after you’ve used the cleaning products. One study suggested that the chemicals can dissipate as quickly as eight minutes later if the windows are open. If the windows are shut, however, the fumes can linger in the air for up to 55 minutes.

The average adult human takes 8-16 breaths per minute, so breathing in toxins for even a few minutes can mean taking in a lot of polluted air.

Fact #9:

Just because you have an air conditioner doesn’t mean it’s helping your air quality if you haven’t had regular maintenance on it.

If your filters are filthy, jam-packed with dust, dander, and hair, the air pushed through them will also contain some of that dust, dander, and hair.

Germs, mold, and microbes grow in warm, moist environments, and the inside of a poorly maintained air conditioner is a good environment for the growth of those things. If you haven’t had your air conditioner routinely serviced, you probably have dirt around your vents. You may have a leak that puts moisture in the air and incubates germs.

The best thing you can do is to sign up for regularly scheduled maintenance two times per year. Join ServiceOne’s Club One! You’ll get your tune-ups along with discounts on parts, systems, and front-of-the-line service.

Fact #10

Anybody who knows me won’t be surprised that I always like to give GOOD NEWS to balance out what may be bad news.

Here’s the good news.

Indoor air quality is easy to improve.

You can make some very minor improvements by putting a lot of houseplants in your home. (But if you’re like Ginger and me, you may not be green-thumbed enough, and those pots just become dead wilty things that don’t help with air quality at all and only make you feel like a killer.)

You can certainly keep cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, and mopping regularly using non-toxic household products labeled with the Safer Choice or DfE (Design for the Environment) labels.

But the best thing you can do to improve the quality of the air you breathe inside your home is to invest in an air purification system.

ServiceOne recommends the REME Halo Air Purification system. Our trained technicians can insert a cylindrical device directly into your air conditioner. REME stands for Reflective Electromagnetic Energy technology. This unit works by using a combination of ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to purify your air.

You won’t even know that this no-maintenance system is working 24 hours a day to remove odors, germs, and chemicals. It’s been proven to remove 99.9% of viruses, including COVID.

Even better news!

Now through June 30, 2023, ServiceOne Air Conditioning and Plumbing is offering $100 off on the REME Halo Air Purification System.

Call us.

We want you to breathe easy.

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