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How Can I Tell if My Homes Air Quality is Bad?

April 27, 2020

If you’re unsure whether your Portland residence has poor indoor air quality (IAQ), it likely does.

We are indoors a lot. As a matter of fact, we’re inside up to 90% of the time, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And the air inside houses may be 2–5 times more polluted than outdoors, which might create long-term health issues.

Most Common Causes of Poor IAQ

We’ve made a list of the most common origins of poor IAQ, the problems they cause and how you can take care of these indoor air pollutants. If you’re troubled by the air inside your home, we advise chatting with a specialist like Three Rivers Heating & Cooling about which options are a good fit for your family.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals released by regular household products.

They’re found in paint and stains along with:

  • Furniture
  • Carpet
  • Building materials
  • Cleaning products
  • Cosmetics
  • Air fresheners
  • Candles

When these fumes collect inside, they might irritate your eyes, nose and throat. They might also lead to headaches and nausea. Regardless of whether your residence is in a rural or industrial location, an EPA study found indoor levels of these pollutants can be 2–5 times greater than the air outside your home.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying paint or spraying cleaning products. Opening a window can help odors dissipate more quickly.

Air purification systems can also make it better. This unit partners with your heating and cooling unit to improve indoor air. When hunting for one, make sure it’s specifically created to eliminate VOCs.

Dust and Pet Dander

Dust and pet dander can aggravate health problems like asthma and allergies, especially when it continuously gets recirculated by your residence’s comfort unit. While you can vacuum more regularly and install an enhanced air filter, an air filtration system may be a better match.

This unit works with your comfort equipment to give powerful filtration. Some models have hospital-level filtration for removing particles and bioaerosols.

Lasting Odors

Modern residences are tightly sealed to increase energy efficiency. While this is fantastic for your energy costs, it’s not ideal for your IAQ.

Stale odors can hang around for a greater amount of time as your residence is taking in less fresh air. As keeping your windows open throughout the year isn’t doable, here are two methods you can make your indoor air smell better.

An air purification system is placed in your ducts to wipe out odors before they get released again. Find one with a carbon filter and the power to eliminate harmful VOCs. This equipment can also help keep your household healthy by eliminating most bacteria and normal allergy triggers like pollen and mold spores.

A ventilation system pulls out stuffy indoor air and exchanges it with crisp outdoor air. There are two kinds of equipment (heat recovery and energy recovery), so ask our pros for more info on which solution is best for your house.

Unsteady Humidity

It’s essential your home’s humidity remains even. Air that’s too moist can lead to mold, while dry air can lead to respiratory symptoms.

Our pros suggest 40–50% for the best comfort. To keep yours steady, consider installing a whole-home humidifier or whole-home dehumidifier with your HVAC unit.

Rather than having to lug a humidifier from room to room, this equipment gives balanced humidity throughout your residence.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is gas you can’t see or smell. It’s a byproduct of unfinished combustion in fuel-burning units, like gas heating systems, water heaters or fireplaces.

It poses a serious health risk. In low amounts, it can create flu-like symptoms like headaches and nausea. It could be lethal in heavy amounts.

We recommend annual furnace maintenance to double-check your equipment is operating smoothly. This job allows our techs to discover issues before they get bigger, including malfunctions that can create carbon monoxide leaks.

The best way to keep your residence free of carbon monoxide is to get detectors. These alarms need to be on each floor close to bedrooms and living rooms.

Enhance Your House’s Air Quality with the Three Rivers Heating & Cooling Specialists

Know that your residence has bad air quality but not sure how to make it better? Or unsure which solution is right for you? Give our friendly HVAC professionals a call at 503-213-4433 or contact us online right away. With free estimates and pro support, we’ll help you locate the best solution for your family and budget.