How to Improve Air Quality

A pic of a air diffuser

Improving Indoor Air Quality at Home

Floridians are putting a renewed emphasis on indoor air quality and ventilation to improve their overall health and comfort.

By identifying fumes and particles that may aggravate your senses—from off-gassing furniture and building supplies to household cleaners and the emissions from gas stoves—you can use your HVAC system as a specialized tool to eliminate the most common sources of airborne irritants.

The takeaway? Homeowners can often substantially improve indoor air quality by making just a few small tweaks to their homes.

Why Indoor Air Quality Is Important

Aside from potentially carrying respiratory diseases, everyday airborne irritants like dust, pet dander, and chemical vapors impact overall health. People in your home who suffer from asthma or allergies are particularly sensitive to unfiltered air.

The time we spend indoors exacerbates health risks, as walls and recycled air don’t allow potential irritants to disperse as they would outside. According to the EPA, Americans spend an average of 90% of their time inside. Indoor air pollutants are up to 100% higher than outdoor pollutants, which means tackling indoor air quality is key to respiratory health.

Long-term Consequences of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of contaminated air can increase the risk of serious disease. Researchers have linked indoor air quality to illnesses like:

  • Asthma

  • Low birth rate

  • Heart disease

  • Certain types of cancer, including lung cancer

 

In the short term, common symptoms of poor indoor air quality include:

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Sinus issues

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, talk to your healthcare provider. The professionals at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Naples can assess your home’s air quality and provide solutions to improve it. However, air quality services are not a replacement for healthcare.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

You can make big improvements to your indoor air quality by making some small—but impactful—changes at home by addressing the sources of airborne pollutants.

Reduce VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is an umbrella term for dangerous gases emitted by fabrics, dyes, paints, caulks, glues, and materials used in household furnishings like furniture upholstery and carpet fibers. One of the most common VOCs is formaldehyde, which can cause a host of respiratory problems, including shortness of breath, wheezing, and asthma attacks.

Efficient ventilation and airflow are the best ways to reduce the risk of VOCs. The regular movement of air helps move existing VOCs out of the home before it can impact your health.

Identify natural sources of indoor pollution

Many airborne irritants are naturally occurring. The highest levels of indoor pollution are allergens like:

  • Pet dander

  • Dust

  • Dust mites

  • Hair

  • Mold and mildew

 

These irritants can be even more pronounced in Naples, where humidity levels are high. Tackle dust and dander by bathing your pet regularly, washing linens at least twice a month, and cleaning regularly. If you're susceptible to allergies, you may need to dust, sweep, and vacuum weekly to maintain good indoor air quality.

Get the most of your HVAC ventilation

Cycling air efficiently can help replace stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. A well-maintained HVAC system will already do this, but you'll need to change the air filters every 1-3 months. To minimize particles in the air, only air out your house when pollen counts are low.

Stop or reduce your smoking

Smoking and second-hand smoke increase the risk of lung cancer and lower your home's air quality. Even third-hand smoke, which includes smoke particles on clothing or furniture, can impact your health. Quitting smoking is your best course of action, but if you’re struggling, always smoke outside while gradually cutting back.

Use carbon monoxide detectors

Always install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These devices are essential in alerting homeowners to the odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill a home’s occupants within minutes. Another gas, radon, is an issue for many homeowners in the Naples area, contributing to more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths across the country annually. Identify radon contamination early and stay safe.

Do indoor plants improve air quality?

Overall, not much. Researchers have found that plants do not consistently improve indoor air quality, though they do provide other health benefits. A 2019 review of multiple studies found that HVAC ventilation plays a much more important role in reducing indoor VOC concentrations and that dusty houseplant leaves and damp soil in potted plants may actually worsen some allergy symptoms.

Are diffusers bad for air quality?

Despite manufacturer claims, essential oil diffusers do not improve air quality. A 2018 study by the University of Melbourne found that 24 popular essential oil products designed for use in diffusers emitted 595 different VOCs, including acetone.

Naples Knows Who to Trust for Indoor Air Quality

Effectively improving indoor air quality combines addressing the source of pollution, cleaning regularly, and keeping your HVAC ventilation system in great shape. You can always count on One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Naples for punctual and professional indoor air quality improvements. Request an appointment online or call (239) 237-3360 to learn about the indoor air quality services available for your home.

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