Why an Energy-Efficient Home Can Impact Air Quality and How to Enhance It

Residences today are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. This includes extra insulation and tightly sealed doors and windows to keep energy bills affordable. While this is great for your heating and cooling bill, it’s not so great for your indoor air quality.

Because air has fewer chances to escape, pollutants can build up and affect your residence’s indoor air quality. In fact, your home’s air can actually be 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoors, according to the EPA. That’s not good for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for family members with allergies, asthma, other respiratory concerns or heart disease.

Let’s review some of these common substances and how you can improve your house’s indoor air quality.

6 Routine Pollutants that Influence Indoor Air Quality

When you visualize pollutants, you may think about smog or tobacco smoke. But many substances that affect your air quality are common products. These things have chemicals referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

They involve:

  1. Cleaning products, such as aerosol sprays, bleach and window cleaner.
  2. Personal care products, including hairspray, perfume and nail products.
  3. Candles and air fresheners.
  4. Formaldehyde, which is often used in plastic, foam and particleboard products.
  5. Furniture, window treatments and carpet, specifically when they’re brand new.
  6. Paints and stains.

Other everyday pollutants include:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Symptoms of VOC Exposure

Some people are more sensitive to VOCs than others. The EPA says symptoms of VOC exposure include:

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

In severe situations, the EPA says VOCs can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.

4 Ways to Boost Your House’s Indoor Air Quality

It isn’t complicated to enhance your residence’s air quality. Here are several suggestions from Harvard Medical School:

1. Clean Your House Often

Frequently cleaning and washing surfaces that attract allergens, including furniture, carpet and bedding, will help decrease on dust, dust mites and pet dander in your house.

2. Frequently Replace Your Air Filter

This critical filter keeps your residence comfy and air fresh. How often you should change your air filter depends on the type of filter you have. Flat filters should be swapped every month, while pleated filters should be swapped every three months. If you’re not sure if your filter should be changed, pull it out and angle it to the light. Replace it if you can’t see light through it.

If someone in your house suffers from allergies or asthma, we suggest installing a filter with a higher MERV rating. The higher the number this is, the better your filter is at eliminating contaminants.

3. Enhance Natural Ventilation

Keep fresh air moving by opening windows whenever it’s warm enough. We also advise turning on exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen regularly to get rid of pollutants and introduce more fresh air.

4. Chat Our Indoor Air Quality Pros

From whole-home air purifiers, D&K Home Services by Enercare has a solution to help your household breathe better. We’ll help you find the ideal option during your free home comfort assessment. Give us a call at 613-707-2421 to book yours right away!