Most people in the United States spend about 90% of their time indoors, which makes your Phoenix home’s air quality more important than you may even realize. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified poor indoor air quality as both a short- and long-term health risk to American homeowners. Do you know what’s in your home’s air? If you don’t, you are not alone. Many people don’t even think about their home’s indoor air quality; however, it is crucial to you and your family’s health.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Before we jump into what may be in your home’s air, we wanted to review why it is important and what indoor air quality even is.
The EPA says, “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.”
According to the EPA, some health effects may show up shortly after a single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal.
Many experts believe that poor indoor air quality is a major contributor to indoor allergy symptoms, the spread of illness, and poor breathing.
Do You Know What’s in Your Home’s Air?
Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of why indoor air quality matters, let’s take a look at some potentially harmful things that may be in your Phoenix home’s air.
- Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic, insect-like pests that generate some of the most common indoor allergens and can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in lots people. Dust mites occur naturally and can appear in almost all homes. They are very common when your HVAC system is running a lot. Eight out of 10 people in the United States are exposed to dust mites (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America).
- Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew are fungi that reproduce and grow “seeds,” called spores that travel through the air. Mold and mildew develop in damp environments with little to no air movement. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (EPA). Mold and mildew may be in your home’s air without you even knowing it, the only way to really know for sure is with an indoor air quality test.
- Pet Dander: Six out of 10 homes are subject to cat or dog dander. Do you have a family pet? If so, you and your family may be breathing in pet dander. Pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. Animal allergens are carried on small particles that remain airborne and easily attach to surfaces and clothing. People suffering from pet allergies will have symptoms consistent with swollen nasal passages. This includes a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath (American Lung Association).
- Cockroach Allergens: Do you know what’s in your home’s air? Cockroach allergens are not something many people think of because they have not seen a cockroach, but the allergens can still be there. The National Pest Management Association reports that 63% of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, that number rises to between 78% and 98% of homes. Cockroach allergy symptoms include: coughing, nasal congestion, skin rash, wheezing, ear infection, and sinus infection (ACAAI).
- Viruses and Bacteria: If it seems like people in your home are continuously getting sick, it may be because viruses and bacteria are living in your home’s air. People, pets, and pests will inevitably bring microbes into your home. In most cases, they are carried by hosts and transferred to others through direct contact rather than the air; however, microbes can also become airborne and spread throughout your home environment. Your HVAC system may be pumping germs throughout your home without you even knowing it.
Do you know what’s in your home’s air? Does it even matter? If your home and its occupants are showing signs of poor indoor air quality, you will want to address the situation as soon as possible. Poor ventilation, reoccurring health problems, unusual odors, lots of dust, and more can be signs that the air you are breathing is not the best quality.
At Arizona Comfort Specialists we offer indoor air quality solutions, such as adding air scrubbers to your Phoenix home. Give us a call today to request a quote and learn more about how we can help you.