Breathing in and out is something we often take for granted, especially when we are indoors, since the temperatures are often pleasant, thanks to heating and cooling capabilities. However, you may be inhaling and exhaling harmful contaminants that affect overall air quality. While some of them may be fairly obvious to determine, most are harder to detect.
Fortunately, one of the top HVAC companies in Toronto, Ontario is here to offer you some standard insights on particular factors that negatively affect your indoor air quality. Use this article as your guide to find out more.
Why Is Indoor Air Quality Often Overlooked?
Aside from the temperature control capabilities, the air quality inside homes, commercial establishments, and the like are often not causes for concern because many tend to focus on outside air, primarily due to pollution factors that can affect your health . However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air indoors can be up to five times more contaminated than what you would breathe outdoors. This is primarily through particulate matters, complex pollutants with liquid and solid particles clumped together that travels through the air.
These findings are more concerning because we are currently under a global pandemic, meaning you and your household are spending more time at home and practicing social distancing while at risk of harming your health due to poor indoor air quality. Thus, you need to address this issue as soon as possible.
What Kinds of Pollutants Are Commonly Seen in Indoor Air?
Since every indoor space has a different interior ecosystem, you may either see more or less particulate matters, depending on your setup, needs, and preferences. You may also have indoor air filters, like the HEPA variants used for HVAC systems, meaning you may less likely be susceptible to indoor air pollution. Whatever your situation may be, here are the following pollutants to watch out for:
Freshly applied paint
You may already be aware that fresh coats of paint often emit strong odours, leading to headaches and nasal irritation. The primary cause of these conditions is through the paint’s formulation of volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are human-produced chemicals that are often identified as air pollutants. Breathing in these chemicals can also affect breathing patterns and can lead to cancer , especially through prolonged exposure.
As such, you should be careful when handling paint by wearing protective face coverings. When you also need to paint something, like some car repainting work, do it in an enclosed area to prevent exposing other individuals. Most importantly, let the paint dry and keep away from it until it is ready for use.
Using aerosol sprays, such as the ones used for grooming and cleaning, can be convenient for you. However, this can come at a price since it can significantly contribute to air pollution by adding to outdoor VOC emissions in highly urbanized communities.
Thus, it would be best to stick to non-spray alternatives or all-natural items. You can also use spray-based products sparingly and indoors with heating and air conditioning systems turned on to filter these harmful pollutants.
While lighting scented candles could be your holiday tradition or a way to unwind by adding calming effects to your bathroom, these can release compounds that significantly contribute to indoor air pollution. It can even trigger asthma and release strong formaldehyde. Luckily, you can always opt for beeswax and soy-made scented candles but do so occasionally to avoid polluting the air indoors with too many stimulants.
You may already be familiar with the effects of smoking cigarettes as they are heavily advertised by many environmental advocacy groups and lung cancer awareness movements. The truth is even e-cigarettes release microscopic particles from vapour, leading to lung damage and other health complications. It would be advisable to quit smoking due to these associated risks .
You may deem it necessary to use your humidifier to keep your skin smooth and glowing, especially during the winter months wherein your skin is prone to cracking. However, using it above 50 percent humidity can encourage mould growth and dust mite formulation, triggering allergic reactions and breathing problems. Therefore, use your humidifier sparingly and turn it to settings below 50 percent.
At first, bringing out the air fresheners can a great solution to mask disgusting odours around the toilet and kitchen area. But as you inhale these particles over time, they can lead to asthma attacks, breathing issues, migraines, and colds.
Therefore, it would be best to use more effective and allergy-friendly solutions instead of artificial means to control harsh smells. For instance, you can open your window (provided that it’s not allergy season or there are no harmful car fumes) or utilize your air purifier. You can also get your heating and cooling system cleaned to filter out smells while keeping the indoor temperature comfortable.
3D printers are becoming more popular for personal use nowadays, primarily for households to craft custom pieces for repairs and home improvement projects. Unfortunately, research shows that 3D printers can release particulate matters you can inhale, which directly harms your lungs. Worse, you can also take in plastic filaments when your printer heats up, leading to other medical complications. Therefore, you should only be 3D printing in a well-ventilated space, such as your home garage or backyard. You may also need to keep your distance when the unit gets too warm.
If you have a specific preferred design for granite countertops, you may need to look for alternatives since they often emit radon, which is a radioactive component. It is known as a prominent leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Fortunately, there are ways around this.
You can go for radon testing from reputable professionals for a thorough inspection. Additionally, granite indoors doesn’t necessarily increase radon levels. It is primarily through wall and foundation cracks. Thus, just be careful when you opt for granite countertops by consulting with your provider.
As you can see, your house’s environment can affect the overall air quality. While some of the particles can be spotted by the naked eye, most of them are often invisible and lead to your HVAC unit’s overall inefficiency, affecting the quality of life and daily costs. Fortunately, you now have a better understanding of what you need to watch out for to mitigate the inhalation of contaminated air. Meanwhile, if you want to get the professional help you need, don’t hesitate to contact experts like us!
Are you in need of cooler repairs in Toronto to help you maintain your good indoor air quality? Get in touch with us at Temp-A-Sure. We are your dedicated team of heating and air conditioning contractors, providing you with the solutions needed to address temperature issues and maintain optimal comfort levels at home. Schedule a maintenance or repair appointment with us today!