When you think about the qualities of a comfortable home, you might think of a cozy warm temperature, a comfy couch, and some peace and quiet while you watch a movie. You might think of a home full of activity with music playing in the background. Whatever defines comfort for you, there is a commonality that you might not think about—indoor air quality.
Your home should feel like a breath of fresh air after a long day at work. At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we take that literally! That’s why we want to take some time to educate our customers about indoor air quality and how they can improve the comfort of their homes by implementing these simple tips.
What Defines Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality encompasses a variety of factors that all impact one another. However, if we were to boil it down to the essentials, IAQ is the measure of pollutants in the air within your home.
These are some of the pollutants we commonly see:
- Mold Spores
- Dust Mites
- Carbon Monoxide
The presence of any of these pollutants in your home’s air can not only make your home less comfortable, but it can damage your health, as well. There are also other factors of your air quality, such as humidity levels that we will also touch on.
How do these pollutants get into the air in the first place? For some, like smoke, the answer is obvious. For others, like dust and pollen, the answer might not be so straightforward.
The biggest way to fight against these contaminants is to clean your home regularly. Dust and dirt build-up over time, and unfortunately, that dust won’t stay in your carpeting or on your blinds. Instead, one footstep might be enough to kick up dust particles in the air. Multiply that by the number of things in your home gathering dust, and it’s easy to see why cleaning is so vital to helping your IAQ.
Scientists have conducted blind studies that found dirty carpeting to have a noticeable effect of worsening air quality. Make sure you are consistently vacuuming and don’t neglect to dust and vacuum areas that you might generally remember to clean. You’ll also want to schedule a duct cleaning if you haven’t had one in the last two or three years. You’d be surprised at the amount of dust buildup that can occur in your ducts in just a short time.
Bacteria, mold spores, and even just dust and pollen can cause breathing problems. However, home humidity can either exacerbate or mitigate respiratory issues. Why is that?
When you breathe dry air consistently, your sinuses dry out. This harms your body’s natural defense mechanisms against contaminants in the air. Things like your mucus are meant to capture potentially harmful particles from entering your body from the air, but your immune system can’t do its job as well if your sinuses are dried out.
Ideally, you want your home’s humidity to be between 30% and 50%. It’s actually quite easy to manipulate if you’re not within that zone. You can increase your home’s humidity by:
- Cooking more often.
- Adding a houseplant.
- Air drying clothes on a drying rack instead of using a machine.
- Cracking the bathroom door open when you shower to let out some steam.
- Tea time. Heating water in a teapot is an easy way to add steam to your home.
Make sure you’re not letting your humidity go above 50% either, though. That puts you in the danger zone for mold growth, which, of course, can cause other respiratory issues.
Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning offers IAQ specialists that can walk you through improving your home’s comfort and your health. If you’re like to schedule a duct cleaning or an IAQ assessment, give us a call at (916) 596-2825 or fill out an online contact form.