Headaches, nasal congestion and fatigue aren’t just symptoms of the cold or flu. They can be signs that the environment inside your Old Town home is unhealthy, too. Poor indoor air quality is far more common than most people think. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists indoor pollution as the nation’s fifth largest environmental threat. The air inside the average American home is typically many times more polluted than the outdoor air in major metropolitan cities. The health effects of common indoor air pollutants as well as ways to improve indoor air quality are described below.
Common Indoor Allergens
For the estimated 40 million Americans affected with allergies, indoor pollution is a serious problem, but according to the American Lung Association (ALA), long-term exposure to allergens can contribute to the development of asthma or chronic respiratory conditions in otherwise healthy people, too. Common allergens include biological pollutants like animal dander, pollen, mold and dust mites. These allergens can not only trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks but can also cause infections, resulting in lost days at work or school.
Household appliances that burn fuel, such as furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters and stoves, generate byproducts during the combustion process that can cause serious health consequences if the substances are not properly vented from your home. Carbon monoxide is among the most dangerous of these substances. Even low exposure to this invisible, odorless gas can cause nausea, dizziness, confusion and fatigue. High levels can result in coma and death. Keeping your family safe from harmful pollutants is a primary reason to ensure that your heating system is properly maintained with regularly scheduled tune-ups.
Many household products contain organic chemicals that release compounds into the air whenever you use them. An EPA study found that levels of the most common organic pollutants are up to five times higher inside homes than outside. Health effects linked to organic chemicals range from respiratory irritation and headaches to memory problems and visual disorders. These products include:
- Paints and varnishes
- Air fresheners
- Cleaning products
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Pressed wood products
An extensive report conducted by the EPA found air purifiers to be effective at reducing indoor pollutants. The nation’s leading consumer publication recommends whole-home purifiers as the best solution. These products are typically installed to work in tandem with existing forced-air heating and cooling systems. They contain high efficiency filters that block small particulates from circulating through your home without impeding air flow or affecting performance. Some contain electronic precipitators that can kill and capture up to 95 percent of pathogens down to 0.3 microns in size.
If you or someone in your family is feeling sick or is exhibiting physical symptoms that you just can’t explain, air purification products may offer solutions. From carbon monoxide alarms and ultraviolet lamps to whole-house air purification systems, Hollub Heating offers an array of indoor air quality products and services that can help ensure your home environment is healthy and safe.