The air your family breathes inside the home has a direct impact on how healthy they are. Bacteria and pollutants have a habit of sticking around, and they can cling to the air around you even if there are no obviously bad smells around. If your family is breathing pollutants through the air, symptoms including allergies and chronic asthma are common.
Keeping your family healthy begins with the quality of the air they breathe – and it’s not just about outside pollutants, but also about the air they breathe in the home.
Here’s more about the air quality in your home, how it affects your health and what you can do to improve it so that you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier air.
Indoor Air Quality & Health
The quality of the air you breathe matters. In fact, everyone knows what it’s like to take a “breath of fresh air” when you’ve just entered a new, clean space: Think of hitting the aisles of a grocery store when you’ve just come in from a hot, sweltering day. It’s good to breathe clean, healthy, air-conditioned air.
On the other side, you can instantly tell when you walk into an area where the air isn’t as clean, healthy or well-circulated as the grocery store example mentioned above. It feels stuffy, uncomfortable – and some areas are so polluted that they almost feel “thick” with dust.
This isn’t always the case, but it paints a good picture for why clean air is so vitally important.
When It Isn’t the Case
The example above illustrates the correlations between clean and “dirty” or polluted air – and it tells you that air isn’t always the same quality everywhere you go. But there’s one thing the above example doesn’t illustrate: What if you can’t tell from the first sight or smell if the air is clean – how will you know?
Bad smells and dust lingering in the air can tip you off that the air isn’t circulating right. But there are many pollutants that don’t have an obvious smell, and a lot of bacteria can still be present in your air without you being able to tell.
Radon, for example, is one of the most common pollutants in American homes – but there’s no smell to it, and the only way to tell the levels of radon pollution on the inside of your home is to enlist the services of an expert (or buy a home testing kit in some states) and measure your levels.
What should this teach you? The quality of the air your family is breathing isn’t always obvious, but if it causes symptoms with any cause for concern, it’s time to take a closer look.
One way to truly examine the quality of air in your home is to have it professionally tested by a certified state expert. You can also take a look at the official MERV Rating Chart.
Symptoms of “Dirty” Air
Even if you can’t tell the quality of the air in your home straight away, your family’s symptoms could be a clue that points to it.
Allergies are one of the most common symptoms of polluted air in the home, and if your family wakes up regularly with the sniffles (or headaches), allergies could very well be the cause.
A lowered immunity is another symptom that can go hand-in-hand with the quality of air in your home, and if you find that you and your family are getting sick more often than you are used to, the quality of air in your home could also be to blame.
You should also take a look at the quality of your home if you haven’t had your air conditioning unit serviced in a while, or if you can’t remember when last you had your air filters changed.
Sick Building Syndrome
Common Indoor Pollutants
If the air quality in your home isn’t up to standard, it’s most likely that it’s due to the presence of pollution in your home: While most people think of pollution as something that only happens in the middle of large, busy and industrial cities, this isn’t the case at all, and a lot of this pollution manages to find its way into the home, where it can endlessly circulate – and make you and your family ill.
The most common pollutants in the home include radon (a byproduct of radium decay), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, asbestos, lead, smoke, sulphur dioxide, ozone and mold. Some of these are produced inside the home as by-products of living, breathing and working – others enter the home through external sources like the air from outside, dirty air filters or
Of course, there are plenty more types of pollutants that can affect the air quality in your home, though having properly circulating air is enough to remedy most of these issues.
The Importance of Circulating Air
Circulating air helps clean air to flow, and the undesirable air – the kind that you don’t really want you and your family to breathe – and having clean and circulating air ensures that your family will be healthier and have considerably less problems with allergies.
Tips for Circulating Air
A functional air conditioning system is at the core of having clean, circulating air in your home. You should have your AC unit serviced at least twice per year, especially when it’s experiencing heavy use throughout the summer – even if your AC unit isn’t obviously malfunctioning, it could still be circulating dirty air throughout your home if you don’t have it serviced.
Residential air cleaners and AC units can have a massively positive impact on the air quality of your home, and the health of your family. When servicing your air conditioner, the experts will make sure that it’s working as it should, circulating clean air throughout your home – and that crucial things like air filters are changed.
If you know your air filter sizes, be sure to let your repairperson know ahead of time if you want to save them (and you) some time.
You can also help to circulate the air in your home by installing a simple fan in the middle of a well-used room in addition to your air conditioning unit, and by doing as little as opening a window.
Improving the quality of your family’s health is as simple as a few simple steps to improve the quality of the air circulating around the home – who knew it could be that easy?