We do everything we can to make our homes as comfortable as possible. Most of the time, this involves selecting the right furniture, keeping the thermostat at the proper temperature, and choosing the ideal color scheme to set the mood. Over the last few decades, many of us are also concerned with making our homes as eco-friendly as we can. We recycle, buy natural and organic products, and install energy-efficient appliances. However, one major green initiative is often overlooked, even though it can have a significant impact on our comfort and ecological footprint in our indoor environments. Improving the quality of the air inside your house could not only promote your health and well-being, but it could also clean out many dangerous pollutants.
Air pollution can be just as big of a problem inside as it is outside. In fact, given that we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, it could have a larger impact than many of us know. While there’s nothing more pleasant than opening a window on a spring day and allowing some fresh air to circulate, the fact of the matter is those moments are few and far between. Most of the time, we’re breathing air that is most likely tainted with a number of harmful contaminants.
What’s the Source of Indoor Pollution?
Even if your house looks clean, it may be filled with toxic elements that can have a serious effect on your health. These can include mold and mildew growing on bathroom fixtures, as well as dust and pollen. Additionally, the materials used to build your home may also be giving off nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, or even volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. In older properties, lead paint and asbestos floor tiles are common and can be incredibly dangerous if disturbed. Surprisingly, even some everyday household products such as chemical-based cleansers and deodorizers can have a negative influence on your indoor air quality.
What Symptoms Could You Experience?
The consequences of indoor pollution can go far beyond sneezing and sniffling, though those are two of the most common symptoms. Depending on the extent of the contamination and your level of sensitivity, you may also experience respiratory problems including congestion, coughing, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, you may feel dizzy, get headaches, become nauseous, or even develop a rapid heartbeat. Prolonged exposure can also lead to fatigue and even lung cancer.
What Can You Do About It?
The idea of finding these pollutants in your house is definitely concerning, but the good news is there are many steps you can take to make the air cleaner, healthier, and more environmentally-friendly. Take a look at the accompanying infographic to see some useful tips and give yourself peace of mind:
As you can see, many of these are common-sense ideas. Proper ventilation, regular inspections, and responsible maintenance don’t take up much time or effort, but they can have a substantial impact on improving the breathability and sustainability of your residence.
Everyone wants to feel comfortable in their own home. Even though there’s a lot we do already to make our properties the ultimate refuge from the outside world, we may be ignoring a major contributor to our domestic felicity. When you take the time to understand how the air we breathe indoors affects our health, mood, and overall well-being, you see how vital it is to take care of it. On top of that, the efforts we take in this regard have the potential to make our houses greener and more sustainable.
Author bio: David S. O’Dea is President and CEO of Environmental Consulting Group. He is responsible for all operations and the direction of the company. O’Dea has more than 32 years of applied experience in environmental projects, and a Master of Science degree in environmental engineering.