Homes are getting more energy-efficient, and that’s a good thing. Good insulation and new windows keep your home comfortable, reduce your monthly energy bill, and do their part to protect the environment through reduced energy usage. But as homes are built to seal up drafts and keep treated air locked inside, they can simultaneously ruin your home’s indoor air quality.
The first step to knowing if your home has poor air quality is to get it tested. A professional HVAC company can send out a technician to test your home’s air. They can zero in on common causes for poor air quality and offer recommendations to make sure fresh air circulates through your home.
Here are five reasons to take that first step:
1. You or your family’s medical conditions are getting worse.
If you have asthma or allergies, you probably stay inside when there’s pollen or poor air quality outside. But many of those irritants can come inside without having a way back out of your house. Every time someone comes inside or opens the front door, pollen, dust, and air pollution follow them. If your HVAC doesn’t have a clear way to pump them outside, they will accumulate on the filter. Finer toxins will slip through the filter and endlessly circulate through your home.
A certified technician can test the air and make sure your filter is doing its job to pull irritants out of it.
2. Toxins can give people sick building syndrome.
You may have heard about sick building syndrome becoming a problem in offices more than in homes. When large commercial buildings made their windows unopenable and sealed the buildings to make them meet environmental regulations, the air inside the buildings grew stagnant. Printer ink, germs, mold on a large scale, and chemical residue built up in the air and people’s respiratory systems started to suffer.
The same thing has started to happen in homes. While your house might not face the same industrial chemicals or high amounts of foot traffic like in office buildings, the contaminants, smoke, and mildew can build up until your air isn’t safe. Even if you don’t have a preexisting health condition, poor air quality can give you sick building syndrome.
3. Poor air quality is noticeable to potential buyers and tenants.
If you plan on putting your home on the market or opening it up for tenants, you know that first impressions matter. You can clean your house, cover cooking smells, and plug-in air fresheners, but nothing can mask the feeling of poor air quality. New visitors can sense the contamination or even develop a slight difficulty breathing while touring your home, even if there isn’t a smell. This sixth sense can make buyers or tenants reconsider.
4. You added new windows and doors to an older home.
Many new homes take air quality into consideration when the plans are being made. Because architectural firms know that more and more people are buying energy-efficient HVAC systems and double-paned windows, they plan out better ventilation to keep the air clean. But if you added these new, green features to an older home, your home’s ventilation wasn’t designed to keep up.
If you have installed new doors or windows or have added new insulation to your house, have a professional test the indoor air quality just in case. You might not yet have noticed a buildup of toxins, and you can stop problems before they start.
5. You can smell mold or stagnant air.
Many times, you can sense a problem just like new visitors can. Whenever you get home, the air feels stagnant. Food smells from the previous day linger throughout the house. Bathrooms or your laundry room always smell faintly like mold. All of these warning signs mean contaminants aren’t being pumped out of your home. Instead, they’re being circulated throughout the house or, even worse, building up.
Whether you feel sicker, sense that something is off about your home’s air, or just did a lot of renovation, don’t wait. Contact us at SWAN Plumbing, Heating & Air of Denver for a quick indoor air quality test. Once you have the results, our experts can recommend the next best steps to make your home safer.