man in gas mask depicting indoor air pollution

Despite how clean you manage to keep your home, there are always ways to make it even cleaner and safer. Indoor air quality may not be something you have ever thought about. However, now might be a good time to focus more on it. Various household products that you use may be causing more problems than not. You might be surprised to know that many of the products you have trusted for years are actually not as safe as you think they are. It is important to learn how some commonly used household products can produce indoor air pollution and what alternative options you have.

Indoor Air Quality

Also referred to as IAQ, indoor air quality is the condition of the air within or surrounding a structure. This includes a commercial building or a home. IAQ is associated with the health and comfort of the people in that structure. When indoor air quality is good, the air inside is safer and easier to breathe.

Indoor air quality is particularly important for a home, especially when there are young children present, elderly residents, or people who have compromised immune systems. If there are high levels of pollutants and/or moisture in the indoor air, it could cause increased risks of health problems including respiratory issues and allergies. This is why both homes and commercial buildings need to adhere to IAQ standards.

If you want to eliminate issues with indoor air quality, it is important to understand how pollutants enter the air inside your house. You could actually be using household products that are bringing down the cleanliness levels of your indoor air.

Household Products That Affect Indoor Air Quality

Household Cleaning Products

cleaning products and indoor air quality

Many cleaning products on the market are made with chemicals that can negatively affect both your health and the environment. Cleaning products that contain anything from ammonia, bleach, powerful synthetic fragrances, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) lower the indoor air quality in a residential space. These chemicals can result in a strong reaction, especially if you mix them with other chemicals.

Solution: By choosing household cleaning products that are made with eco-friendly ingredients and avoiding those that are formulated with harmful chemicals, you can naturally improve your indoor air quality. If possible, research more about how to clean with natural ingredients like baking soda or vinegar.

Paint

paint and VOCs

The fact that you can smell fresh paint means that you are probably breathing in something that is bad for your health. Many of the varieties of paint that are still in use contain VOCs. These contaminants are full of carbon compounds, which can easily transform into vapors. When these intermingle with the air, the reaction with other elements creates ozone. This can amplify air pollution. As the paint dries, it continues to release VOCs into the air, and this is the pollution that you breathe in.

Solution: Choose paint that contains low or zero VOCs to keep your indoor air clean. Your lungs will thank you for it.

Products In Aerosol Spray Form

Aerosol Sprays

You can purchase many products that are designed as aerosol sprays. These include hairspray and other hair treatments, shaving cream, deodorant, and fragrances. Even aerosol cooking oil spray is suspicious because of chemicals that are added. This includes artificial flavors, propellants like butane, isobutane, and propane, and a variety of foam-preventing silicone.

The problem with aerosol sprays is that they are formulated to send out tiny liquid droplets into the air. Sometimes, this liquid consists of harmful ingredients that are not safe to use. About 30 years ago, people exposed aerosol sprays as polluting substances that were also harmful to the environment.

Solution: If possible, avoid using aerosol sprays, or limit their use to avoid sending irritants into the air. You can find many products in other forms that are safer to use and have little to no effects on your home’s IAQ.

Household Air Fresheners

We have all reached for a can of air freshener to eliminate a bad odor, but did you know that air freshener also contains ingredients that are harmful? Certain air fresheners can release over 100 various chemicals. Many of those chemicals can be harmful to health or even toxic. These chemicals can also have reactions with other substances in your indoor air and that can result in more dangerous compounds being produced. Consequently, some people may cough or sneeze after inhaling even a small amount of air freshener. If the spray touches the skin, it could also cause irritation, redness, and itchiness.

It might seem counter-intuitive that a product that is designed to make the air ‘fresher’ can actually cause problems with indoor air quality. However, it is not shocking. Air fresheners are actually made with fragrances, propellants, and various kinds of additives that all lend a hand in reducing IAQ.

Solution: Use natural ingredients to get rid of bad odors and improve indoor air quality.

Candles In The Home

paraffin wax candles

Many people think that candles are innocent, but they can also be harmful to your health. Fortunately, not all candles are harmful — only those that contain paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a by-product of coal oil, shale, or petroleum. By themselves, they are most likely harmless. However,  when they are lit they begin to disperse carcinogenic compounds into the air. A particular study showed that the fumes emitted by paraffin wax candles were connected to lung cancer and asthma.

Solution: Do not use paraffin wax candles often. If you use candles on a regular basis, try to find ones made with natural ingredients like beeswax.

Dry Cleaning Clothes

image of dry cleaning

Dry cleaning uses an organic solvent to remove dirt, bad odors, and stains. The solutions used in dry cleaning can pose risks, especially for those who have pre-existing medical conditions that involve the heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys. PERC (perchloroethylene) is the most alarming type of ingredient used in dry cleaning. This is a variant of VOC and it can be particularly problematic if exposure to the chemical occurs for a prolonged period.

Solution: If you must have your clothes dry cleaned, be sure to unwrap them outdoors. Let them sit outside for some time so that the dangerous chemicals can disperse. Furthermore, Choose a trusted dry cleaning company and don’t be afraid to say something if you notice that your dry-cleaned clothes have a strong smell.

Conclusion

To manage indoor air quality properly, it is important to be actively aware of the various products that could result in IAQ issues. Keeping your indoor air safe is good for your personal safety and health. It is also necessary to properly maintain the environment. Little steps can produce big differences. Being actively involved will make sure that your home and the people who live in it are kept safe and comfortable.

Call Tower Energy To Learn How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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Tower Energy provides outstanding cooling and heating services in Hartford County, Connecticut, and the surrounding areas. Our team consists of the best NATE certified specialists who can offer you exceptional HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, and tune-ups. Each team member has years of experience and superior knowledge to service your HVAC properly.

Tower Energy guarantees heating and cooling costs that are the most competitive in the area. Our services can elevate your comfort levels, improve your indoor air quality, and improve your energy efficiency, all while bringing down your cooling and heating costs.

If you are in need of HVAC repairs or a replacement HVAC system, we can recommend the perfect choice for you that also fits with your budget. Our work is backed with a satisfaction guarantee. For a free in-home estimate or to schedule an appointment, give Tower Energy a call today.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

high humidity in home and indoor air quality

Humidity is often felt in areas that experience damp weather or high temperatures. Unfortunately, anyone who lives in these areas knows the discomfort that this brings. When it is damp and muggy outside, you would want to find comfort inside your home. However, it can be very problematic when it is also humid inside your home. A good cooling unit can help you improve the situation. In this article, we have compiled a few tips to help you if you think your home has a high humidity level. This way, you can determine the issue and find the most effective ways on how to remove humidity.

How Does My AC Remove Humidity In My House?

Below, we discuss some useful tips when you feel hot and muggy in your home.

Indoor Air Quality Definition

feeling hot and humid in house

As the name suggests, indoor air quality, or IAQ, is the quality of air in and around structures. It also often refers to how air quality affects an individual’s health. Having poor IAQ can trigger health issues like allergies, breathing difficulties, and flu-like symptoms. The worst-case scenario is you risk developing respiratory illnesses when you breathe in indoor air pollutants for a long time. Therefore, high indoor air quality must be maintained inside your home.

How High Humidity Levels Impact Your Indoor Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency states that high humidity is one of the primary contributors to low indoor air quality. Humidity encourages the growth of mold, bacteria, and mildew. These can then invade your walls, carpets, and other absorbent surfaces in your house. The spores that they release can be dangerous when inhaled. Mold infestation can cause skin rashes, headaches, lung infections, and eye irritation. Not only that but if your house is experiencing excessive humidity, then you are more vulnerable to dust mites and other allergens.

Symptoms Of High Humidity In Your Home

woman experiencing allergies at home

Some of the signs that your home is experiencing high humidity levels include:

How High Humidity Affects Your Home

High levels of humidity not only cause health issues. It can also cause damages to your home. Excessive moisture in the air can result in wood rotting. As a result, your home will sustain structural damage, and small holes will be created. These will open your house to pests like cockroaches, rats, and termites. High humidity can also cause cracks to form on your door and window frames. Porous objects around your home like carpets, clothes, and books can also be damaged.

Removing Humidity From Your Home

Fortunately, there is a simple way you can alleviate the humidity inside your home. This is by using your air conditioning system.

How Can My Air Conditioner Remove Humidity From My Home?

outdoor condenser for air conditioner

An AC does not only provide your home with conditioned air. It also pulls out humid air. An HVAC unit is equipped with an evaporator coil that condenses moisture from the air. This water is then properly disposed of outside through the drain tube and into a drain pan. When you have an HVAC system that operates at peak condition, it can maintain the optimal humidity level in your home. According to the EPA, the ideal humidity level inside your home is from 30 to 50 percent. This is with an air conditioning switched on. Anything lower or higher than these percentages may mean you have an AC problem on your hands.

Which Works Best: A Portable Dehumidifier Or An Air Conditioner?

portable dehumidifier

You might be wondering whether a portable dehumidifier or an AC unit works best when it comes to removing humidity. A dehumidifier works by removing the moisture in the air. On the other hand, an air conditioner cools the air while removing the excess moisture as well. A portable dehumidifier is only capable of eliminating the moisture in one room in your house. Whereas, an HVAC unit can cool and remove moisture in large areas. It can also filter the air indoors, trapping the pollutants, so the air you breathe in is cleaner. You can also install a whole-house dehumidifier when you want to pull out hot air in tandem with your air conditioning system.

Your A/C & Humidity

An air conditioner system can pull out moisture from the air and release it outdoors. When used together with a whole-house dehumidifier, you can significantly lessen the humidity indoors and maintain the recommended level of 30 to 50 percent. If you think you have an AC humidity issue, call an expert HVAC technician to help you determine the problem. You should also make sure that your cooling unit receives regular AC maintenance checks so that all components are working at optimum efficiency at all times.

Call Tower Energy For Expert HVAC Services

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Tower Energy provides top-quality cooling and heating services in Plainville, Connecticut. Our NATE certified and licensed contractors offer excellent HVAC services, including air conditioner tune-ups, mini-split installations, A/C replacements, and more. We can also find effective ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home. All of our friendly and professional techs have the right tools, skills, knowledge, and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

When you need affordable heating and cooling service costs in the area, do not hesitate to call Tower Energy. Our tune-up services will help increase your home comfort and energy-efficiency levels without the added cooling costs. If you are looking for a replacement system, we can help you find the HVAC unit that best fits your needs and budget. A warranty backs all of our work to guarantee your satisfaction. Book an AC maintenance check or service appointment with Tower Energy today. Call one of our representatives for a free, in-home estimate.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

healthy indoor air quality at home

Air pollution is typically associated with dirt from factories, car exhaust, and many other factors that lower the quality of outdoor air. However, contamination can also occur indoors, which many people fail to realize.

It is necessary to give indoor air pollution attention since the average person usually spends most of his or her time indoors. You have many ways to enhance the quality of indoor air for the sake of your loved ones. This article highlights what indoor air quality entails, causes of indoor air pollution, and how to improve your indoor air quality.

What Does Indoor Air Quality Entail?

We can define indoor air quality as the condition of the air we breathe when we spend time within a structure. The health and wellbeing of different people can be affected by the quality of the air. Air quality can affect their comfort and mood. Alarming studies show that there is more contaminated air indoors than outdoors. Researchers blame current structure construction practices.

Construction practices now build more airtight structures with the hope of meeting higher energy efficiency standards. However, as we lower energy consumption, we end up losing fresh, natural ventilation. Consequently, irritants that are trapped inside the home build up over time to dangerous levels. Ducts recirculate dust, dirt, dander, and other pollutants at ever-increasing rates.

Factors Causing Poor Air Quality

A variety of factors that relate to lifestyle cause indoor air pollution. For instance, many households keep pets for security, companionship, among other benefits. These animals tend to generate a lot of dander and fur that can trigger allergies. Also, walls, covered in paint, can release volatile organic compounds.

Additionally, dust and dirt particles can get inside through footwear and HVAC units. Furthermore, persistent moisture can favor the growth of mold and mildew. Also, household chemicals we use can aggravate indoor air quality issues.

Effects Of Poor Quality Indoor Air

All homeowners ought to be attentive to the matter of air pollution, lest they suffer consequences of poor indoor air quality. Members of different families may begin exhibiting different signs of respiratory conditions such as asthma, constant coughs, and breathing difficulties. Besides, they can also experience digestive issues and chronic fatigue. The worst possible case of unclean indoor air is contracting cancer.

respiratory issues

Ways HVAC Ductwork Affects Indoor Air Quality

The cooling and heating system uses ductwork to circulate air. If the network has pollutants, then the circulation will be full of contaminated air.

The contaminated air will affect people in the household unless they take some corrective measures. Therefore, you need to raise the indoor air quality standard in your home.

How Can My HVAC System Better My Indoor Air Quality?

1. HVAC Air Filters

HVAC systems have air filters that trap pollutants from the air. However, when dirt particles accumulate on the surfaces of the filters, they eventually interfere with airflow which leads to inefficiency. To prevent this from occurring, you should clean them periodically and replace them. A monthly inspection ought to determine if it is time for a replacement.

dirty hvac filter

2. UV Lights

The UV light can cause harmful effects to people, but you can harness them for health benefits as solutions to indoor air pollution. Ultraviolet light destroys viruses, mold, bacteria, and other pathogens. The UV light can fix unwanted pathogens merely through a short exposure. It can be quite beneficial to install UV lamps strategically across your HVAC system. You can learn more by talking to your HVAC contractor.

3. HVAC Dehumidifiers And Humidifiers

It is essential to control the level of humidity because it can drastically affect your indoor comfort. During winter, indoor humidity can fall, and dry air may cause serious respiratory issues. A humidifier can be used to control the problem. When the humidity rises in summer, it creates the perfect conditions for pathogens, mold, and other tiny harmful organisms. You can use a dehumidifier to control and fix the problem.

Modern HVAC systems control the amount of moisture in your house. If you possess an old HVAC unit, you need to replace it with a modern model that has the feature of controlling indoor humidity. Talk to your HVAC Company for more details.

4. HVAC Ductwork Inspections

As already mentioned, ducts channel indoor air where necessary. They pump air in every room of the house to keep everyone comfortable. The ductwork should be inspected often to keep the system clean and ensure it is free from pollutants.

A leak in the ductwork system can be a route for pollutants to enter the HVAC system. Consequently, the HVAC system distributes these pollutants in the air that people breathe indoors. You require regular maintenance of your ductwork if you have a forced-air HVAC system. Ensure you schedule an inspection of the ductwork with your trusted HVAC contractor today.

ductwork inspection

5. HVAC Tune-Ups

Regular maintenance of your cooling and heating system helps it to operate energy-efficiently and problem-free. Professional HVAC tune-ups spot any issues relating to the quality of residential indoor air and offer immediate solutions. Furthermore, homeowners will as well comply with conditions of warranty to keep the system valid. You should facilitate the regular tune-up inspection at least one time every year for both your cooling and heating units.

Contact Tower Energy For All the Needs of Your Home Comfort

All people need to care about improving the quality of indoor air in their homes because it can affect their health, comfort, and overall wellbeing. Therefore, you need to be vigilant and seek the help of relevant professionals for you to enjoy clean indoor air and live stress-free.

Tower Energy provides top-notch cooling and heating professional services in the locality. We employ prolific NATE certified technicians to offer you unmatched HVAC tune-ups, installations, repairs, and replacements. Our techs have sufficient experience and knowledge to service all your HVAC systems precisely. We always prioritize indoor air quality, energy efficiency, comfort, and more.

Do you wish to improve your indoor air quality? Be sure to call Tower Energy for consultation free of charge. We will offer the best solutions to your home and within your budget. Our work is flawless, and we guarantee your satisfaction. You can call us today to know what Tower Energy can offer you.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.