Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Turkey season is here and with that...busy kitchens, cold season, and closed windows. With our spending time, approximately 100% indoors because of the pandemic, our #blogpost this month is about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). We will talk about what it is, the causes of Indoor Air pollution, and how we can improve it.
Before we head to our topic, have you downloaded our budget by room guide? We put together the cost of each room to help you with your next project. Download it here. It will help you have a clear vision of the cost involved with the space you want to design.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality inside and around buildings and structures and its relation to building occupants’ health. Occupants can experience the health effects of indoor air pollution soon or years after exposure.
You probably had the experience of visiting an old house, or a place closed for a long time and started sneezing or coughing. That always an immediate effect or reaction that our bodies have when we visit a site with indoor air pollution.
Imagine if the air pollution inside your home makes you sick in the long-term where you can develop health issues after years of exposure? According to the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, these effects, including respiratory diseases, heart disease, neurological diseases, cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal.
Indoor Air Quality is an essential part of how we live because it affects building occupants and their ability to conduct their activities; create positive or negative impressions on the building’s end-users.
What Causes Indoor Air Problems?
Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes.
Some of the sources by room are as below:
Attic: Asbestos, Insulation, Fiberglass, Dust and Dust Mites
Bedroom: Allergens, Dust and Dust Mites, Pet Hair and Dander, Carbon Dioxide, Carpet, Furniture
Bathroom: Excess Humidity, Personal Hygiene Products, Mold Spores
Home Office: Printers, Photocopies, Melamine Funiture
Kitchen: Lingering Odors, Bacteria, Cooking Pollutants, Cabinets with high VOC - Volatile Organic Compounds.
Living Room: Fireplace, Dust and dust mites, allergens, second-hand smoke, humidifiers, pet hair and dander, carpet.
Garage: Carbon monoxide, Gas, Solvents, Pesticides, and herbicides, dust, paint, chemicals, cleaning agents
Basement: High humidity levels, unpleasant odors, mold, carbon monoxide, fireplace/smoke, firewood, radon, solvents, woodstove, dust and dust mites, combustion systems, paint and chemicals, household cleaners.
The level of pollution depends on the quantity in each source. In some cases, factors such as how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained are significant.
Also, inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollution levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and not carry indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some contaminants.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
The best strategies to improve indoor air quality is to control the sources of indoor air contaminants, provide an adequate volume of outdoor air, and air cleaners.
The best ways to take a preventive approach to IAQ are:
Choose building materials, paints, and furniture with low or no emissions.
Promote the use of unscented products
Don’t allow smoking in your home or car.
Dust and clean your home regularly.
Clean up the mold and fix water leaks
Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130 F)
Read and follow all directions and warnings on standard household products.
Make sure there is plenty of fresh air and ventilation when painting, remodeling, cleaning, or using other products that may release VOC’s
Keep all products away from children.
Use doormats in every entrance to indoors.
Vacuum the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
Change the filters of your central unit regularly. MERV-8 to MERV-12 ratings are the best for households.
Avoid overwater indoor plants.
Let the air fresh in even in the cold months.
Use of Air Cleaners
Keep Temperature and Humidity comfortable.
Use vents while cooking
These are some of the tips to improve your indoor air quality. Remember that the best indoor air quality you have in your home, every occupant's health will be better.
If you still want to know better about how you can improve your air quality. We will be posting on our social media tips and material that can help you with your next project. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Or schedule your Discovery Call, and we can see if we can help you create a healthy and beautiful environment for you and your family.
Till next time and wear a mask,
Daniel and Rome - The Inside + Out Design Team