Signs Your House Has Bad Indoor Air Quality and How to Repair It

May 22, 2020

We are indoors a lot. In fact, the EPA has calculated most people spend 90% of their time within a building, where air quality can be 2–5 times poorer than outside.

Poor indoor air quality can have a negative influence on your well-being. That’s why it’s critical to know the signs of bad air quality in your house, what causes it and how to repair it.

If you’re wondering how you can tell if your West Columbia home’s air quality is bad, our team of HVAC professionals at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. can assist you. We’ll review the issues you’re having and provide ideas to make your house’s air cleaner.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

When you envision pollution, you typically think of smog. But common things within your house can create pollution by the gases or particles they release into the air.

These origins involve:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cleaning, personal care and hobby products
  • Combustion appliances, like a furnace or stove that runs on gas
  • Dust, animal dander and pollen
  • Excessive moisture
  • HVAC equipment
  • Recently placed flooring or carpeting
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Artificial building materials, such as furniture made from pressed wood

Indoor air pollution can be exacerbated by insufficient ventilation in your residence, as well as high temperatures and humidity. Recently built residences are securely sealed for energy efficiency, which is great for your energy expenses but not so great when you need additional fresh air in your home.

Can Poor Indoor Air Quality Make You Sick?

Because people are affected differently by indoor air pollutants, you might develop symptoms now or later. Your symptoms can alleviate when you leave your residence but worsen when you return.

Some of the most regular immediate problems involve:

  • Irritated eyes, nose or throat
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

If someone in your home deals with allergies or asthma, their symptoms can be more severe.

Repeated or prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory diseases, heart disease or even cancer, the EPA warns.

Other Signs of Bad Indoor Air Quality and How to Make It Better

Your home will also give you some signs that its air isn’t as healthy as it could be.

  1. Your house is excessively dusty, notably by the vents. It’s normal for your home to get dusty over the week, but buildup by your air registers should be concerning. There are other particles within dust, like dust mites, pollen and pet dander, that can affect your health, especially if you have allergies or asthma. A better-quality air filter or whole-home air filtration system can help cut down on dust and other irritating pollutants.
  2. Your residence has hot and cold spots. Your HVAC equipment could be failing to maintain correct temperature and humidity levels. Or there may be air distribution troubles due to your HVAC unit or ductwork. Our Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. specialists can locate the issue and advise repairs or replacement.
  3. Your residence’s air feels too dry or too wet. We recommend keeping your residence’s humidity percentage between 30–40% for optimal comfort. If your home isn’t humid enough during the winter, your skin and throat could feel dry. You might also experience colds and other respiratory illnesses more regularly. If your residence is too humid during the summer, you may have increased mold and mildew growth, both of which are bad for your well-being. You can manage these issues with a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier, which works with your HVAC equipment to provide appropriate humidity across your residence.
  4. Your home has lingering odors. You might catch a stuffy scent when you arrive. Or a cooking smell that just won’t go away. Since it’s not possible to keep your windows open 24/7, a whole-home ventilation system can get your residence smelling fresh again. It exchanges stuffy inside air with fresh outdoor air.

Other steps the EPA suggests implementing include keeping your residence smoke-free, getting carbon monoxide alarms and servicing your home comfort system. Regular furnace maintenance and AC maintenance helps keep your equipment clean and efficient and can even help them last for a greater amount of time.

We Can Help Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

If you suspect your house has an air quality problem, give our Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. HVAC experts a call at 803-265-4208 or contact us online. We’re available to discuss possibilities and provide a free estimate.