Indoor air quality, also known as IAQ, refers to the presence or absence of airborne contaminants inside a structure. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a variety of health problems, including fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating and irritation of the lungs, throat, nose and eyes.
The Environmental Protection Agency has conducted numerous studies regarding indoor air quality in homes and the results are alarming. In-home tests reveal that the average household harbors as much as five times the pollutants found in the air outdoors. Ninety-six percent of all homes contained pollutants responsible for decreased air quality, including pollen, viruses, dust, and harmful gases and chemicals. The potentially harmful chemicals found in a variety of solvents, pesticides, paints, personal care products and cleaning agents also have an effect on IAQ. Inhaling the chemicals found in these products can cause nausea, dizziness, allergic reactions and even cancer.
Formaldehyde is another common contaminant found in homes and office buildings. This chemical is used in the manufacture of particle board, plywood paneling, upholstery and carpets.Exposure to formaldehyde released into the air can cause dizziness, headaches, skin rashes, watery eyes, trouble breathing and coughing.
Biological pollutants spread through a building by heating, ventilation and cooling systems are thought to be a major cause of people missing school or work due to health problems. These pollutants include bacteria, pollen, animal dander, dust mites, and molds.
Installing a dehumidifier and improving the air circulation in areas of the home subject to high humidity can prevent mold growth. These areas include basements, kitchens and bathrooms. Emptying the water and regular cleaning of the dehumidifier will prevent mildew growth.
A properly designed, installed and maintained HVAC system can go a long way toward ensuring the indoor air quality of a home, office building, school, or any other structure is good enough to prevent health problems for the building’s occupants. Preventive maintenance is crucial for maintaining indoor air quality and has a positive effect on occupant health while saving the property owner money on unnecessary repairs and premature replacement of equipment.
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