Indoor Air Quality – Can You Breathe Easy?

The Environmental Protection Agency, suggests that Indoor Air Quality is up to 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors, and in some cases, this figure is considerably higher. As the majority of people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, you might like to stop and wonder what impact this is having on your health and well-being.

If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, and have not been able to determine the cause, it may be worth looking at your Indoor Air Quality.

• Flu like symptoms
• Headaches
• Difficulty concentrating
• Lethargy
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Sinus problems
• Eye irritations
• Chronic respiratory problems, Asthma
• Eczema and skin irritations
• Feeling ‘under the weather’

There are a number of factors that can compromise your Indoor Air Quality. They may include:

• Inadequate ventilation
• Insufficiently maintained heating/cooling systems
• Chemical substances. For example, household cleaning solutions
• Synthetic building materials, finishes and paints (releasing toxic compounds)
• Animal dander
• Dust and dust mites
• Pollen
• Smoking

Rest assured there are measures that you can take to improve your Indoor Air Quality.

1. Improve Ventilation. Opening your windows and switching ceiling fans on can greatly improve the quality of the air indoors. Adequate ventilation is particularly important in wet areas, such as bathrooms.

2. Service Heating/Cooling Systems Regularly. The manufacturer’s instructions will guide you in caring for, and maintaining your system. Also, make sure that you have your system serviced regularly. Ensure that all systems, as well as fire places are sufficiently flued.

3. Eliminate Chemical Substances. There are plenty of environmentally friendly, green cleaning products available on the market. Alternatively, go back to the basics of your grandparents’ generation for keeping the house clean. You will be amazed at what you can do with some bicarbonate of soda and vinegar! That way, you not only save money, you avoid polluting the environment, and you can protect you and your family from the negative effects of toxic chemicals in your home.

4. Natural Building Materials. Avoiding synthetic and chemically treated products will help to reduce the risk of compromising your Indoor Air Quality. For example, use low V.O.C paints on walls. ‘Natural’ is a word that is sometimes overly abused, so the key here, is to do your research. Many companies include the word ‘natural’ into their marketing, although it does not necessarily mean that the product is completely natural.

5. Clean Your Home Regularly. This can go a long way towards reducing the problems associated with poor Indoor Air Quality, caused by dust, dust mites, animal dander, pollen and mold, etc. It may be worth considering the benefits of investing in a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.