How is Indoor Air Quality Measured?
Air quality is measured by how many harmful particles are in the air that we breathe. The Air Quality Index (AQI) gives ranges on acceptable and unacceptable air quality. For example, a range of 1-50 micrograms per cubic meter is considered to be a healthy range for all people. Subsequently, a range of 101-150 micrograms per cubic meter is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, young children, and infants.
Infants and small children are at more risk of health problems associated with poor air quality. This has to do with the size of the child, the ratio of lung size to body size, and the rate of infant respiration. Infants and young children take about forty breaths per minute when awake while the average adult takes only fifteen breaths per minute. Children also have a larger lung surface area in proportion to their weight. Infants and children are also more likely to experience health problems associated with poor air quality because their brain, lungs, and immune systems are still developing.
What Factors Affect Your Home’s AQI?
The following are activities and substances inside that will worsen the air quality in your home:
- Burning Wood, Plastic, or Trash
- Tobacco Products
- Paint Fumes
- Cleaning Chemicals
- Carbon Dioxide in the Home
- The Deterioration of Asbestos
- Newly Installed Flooring and/or Carpet
- Excess Moisture
- Dust & Mite Particles
- Mold Spores
- Airborne Bacterial Matter
- Paint/Chemical Storage (Even in an Attached Garage)
- Animal Dandruff
- Perfumes and Hairsprays
- Cooking or Candle Smoke
Outdoor Air Quality Factors
The following are activities and substances outside the home that can STILL worsen the air quality in your home:
- Pesticide Use
- Engine Combustion (Traffic)
- Radon (A radioactive byproduct of uranium breaking down in soil)
- Extreme Weather
Health Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality, if left alone, can accumulate into multiple health hazards for your newborn. Its important to be aware of both the short-term and long-term effects that this type of air quality can cause.
The effects of poor indoor air quality in the home differs from person to person. Young children will often immediately experience irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat. They may also experience dizziness, fatigue, and headaches. Luckily, short-term effects often subside quickly if the child is removed from the polluted environment.
Unfortunately, when exposed to poor indoor air quality over a long period of time, it is likely that a person could develop irreversible respiratory diseases, heart diseases, and possibly even cancer. Another health concern that weighs heavily on new parent’s minds is asthma. Asthma causes a person’s airways to narrow and swell, which hinders breathing. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Almost nine percent of U.S. children suffer from the disease. A wide variety of stimuli can bring symptoms of asthma, however, the two most common causes are exercise and airborne allergens.
Another reason to avoid poor air quality in your home is seasonal allergies. Over 60 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies triggered by pollen. Also known as ‘Hay Fever,” allergic reactions to pollen bring forth a slew of discomfort including fevers, congestion, headaches, chills, runny nose, and cough.
Steps to Take to Improve Air Quality in Your Home
Now that you know what air quality is, what causes it, and how it can harm your family, how do you improve YOUR indoor air quality?
Step 1: Control the Source – Evaluate the potential sources of poor air quality in your home and cut them off at the source!
Step 2: Improve Ventilation – The leading cause of unhealthy indoor air quality is poor ventilation. Poor ventilation will allow pollutants from outside sources to come into your home and won’t properly bring out pollutants inside your home.
Step 3: Introduce Air Cleaners – There are a variety of purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and home air filtration systems available to improve air quality.
Need Some Help With Your Indoor Air Quality?
At Stack Heating, Cooling, & Electric, your family’s health and safety are our top priorities. Our team will work to find solutions to your air pollution and issues as well as provide the necessary tools to combat them. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel, sleep, and breathe! Check out our website or give us a call at (440) 937-9134 with any questions or to request a service!