Most of us spend the majority of our time indoors…sleeping or hanging out at home, working in the office, shopping, or exercising at the gym. When you think of indoor pollutants and harmful gases, things like mold, radon, smoke, or carbon monoxide probably come to mind. Many of us don’t realize, however, that our homes may be full of other, less obvious contaminants that could also greatly harm our bodies.
The Average Home…
Did you know the air inside a building is typically 2–5 times more contaminated than the air outside? The average American spends 90 percent of his or her time indoors. If you fall anywhere near the average, you could be breathing in a high concentration of contaminants throughout the day. These contaminants could be floating around in the air in the form of
- Carbon monoxide
- Tobacco smoke
- Particulate matter
- Pet dander
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
What Are VOCs?
You may be thinking, “I’ve had my home tested for most of these things; I don’t smoke; and I have no pets. My indoor air quality must be great!” Not so fast. Volatile organic compounds are emitted into the air as gases and can cause many adverse health effects (e.g. headaches, nausea, central nervous system damage, or cancer) for those who are exposed (especially to higher concentrations over longer periods of time). VOCs are found in many common household products including
- Paints and solvents
- Wood preservatives
- Air fresheners
- Dry-cleaned clothing
- Aerosol sprays (e.g. hair spray)
- Moth repellants
- Automotive products and stored fuels
- Many cleansers and disinfectants
If you don’t use any of the above items or have any stored in your home or garage, congratulations! Your home may, in fact, have high indoor air quality. For most of us, however, our homes contain many of these harmful chemicals and gases.
To minimize your exposure to VOCs, increase the ventilation in your home, especially when using VOC-emitting products. Also be careful when buying certain products. When picking out paint, for example, look for paint with a low VOC level or paint that is VOC-free and Green Seal-labeled.
Ways to Improve Your IAQ
Make sure you change the filters in your furnace, air conditioner, dehumidifier, and other similar systems as often as you should. If you leave them too long, the dirt will build up, and contaminated air will be pushed into your home.
Air purifiers can increase your indoor air quality by reducing and removing things like pet dander, dust, mold spores, mildew, and bacteria. Lennox Healthy Climate UV germicidal lights destroy contaminants to prevent them from growing and spreading throughout the home.
If you’d like to improve your indoor air quality so you and your family can breathe more freely and safely, consider installing an air filtration system. We can help you choose the right solution for your home and situation. We also service and install heating and cooling systems in Aspen and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. Contact us today for help!