In this day and age, the majority of people work in indoor environments. After the daily work is finished, they usually head to another indoor environment – back home. Just by looking at our habits and places we visit regularly, it is not hard to conclude that we spend the majority of our day inside. This is why indoor air quality plays such an important role in our quality of life and health.
Symptoms Caused by Poor Air Quality
The effects of poor air quality are usually not evident right away. They take time to show, but even when they do, their manifestation is often confused with some other health issues.
Symptoms of exposure to poor air quality include:
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Coughing and sneezing
- Irritation of nose, throat, eyes and skin
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired/exhausted all the time
As you can see, most of these symptoms can be attributed to some minor health issues like the common cold, decreased immunity, allergies, and exhaustion, which is why poor indoor air quality tends to fly under the radar.
Aside from physical issues, poor air quality can also have psychological effects which can include: changes in behaviour, impaired memory, changes in mood, low concentration, inability to focus, and similar issues.
Indoor Air Pollution
Poor indoor air quality can be blamed on outside pollutants to a certain extent, but usually if the home has a chronic problem with low air quality, it's likely due to pollutants that are already present in the building. Depending on where you live, your habits, hobbies, how old is the house and how it was constructed, there can be a variety of potential sources of indoor air pollution.
The most common ones include:
- Building materials and furnishings which contain toxic compounds (like asbestos, paints, chemicals for treating wood)
- Home appliances that use fuel combustion as a source of energy
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products
- Chemicals used for cleaning, personal care, maintenance, hobbies, air fresheners, etc.
- Stoves and heaters
- Damp areas which attract mold
Dampness & Mold
One of the most common pollutants of indoor air quality stems from the presence of mold. These persistent fungi are very important for breaking down organic matter, but their increased concentration in indoor air can cause very serious respiratory problems with long term exposure.
Mold spores are airborne and present almost everywhere. As soon as they land on an area with favourable conditions for their growth (the presence of organic matter and water), they will start to develop. Moisture is the most important condition for mold growth in indoor environments, considering that organic matter is usually abundantly present in these places. For this reason, mold is widely found in damp places like bathrooms, cellars and kitchens.
Mold can be very hard to remove if already established in an area. The best way to avoid this pest is prevention. To efficiently prevent mold infestation, it is necessary to first fix any problems with excess moisture. This includes finding damp areas in your home, fixing leaky faucets and pipes, drying and replacing wet materials or surfaces, not hanging laundry to dry indoors, and most importantly – ensuring good ventilation. Good air circulation significantly helps to decrease air humidity levels and speeds up evaporation, thus making the environment less favourable for mold growth.
If you suspect that you already have problems with mold in your home, you may have noticed some of the following:
- A musty, earthy smell
- Damp, water-stained surfaces on walls, ceilings and/or around windows
- Signs of water damage – rotting wood, peeling paint, warped floors and furniture
These symptoms should not be ignored, as mold can reproduce very quickly. A few dark specks can soon turn into all-out infestation if the problem is left unchecked for too long.
How Inch by Inch Inspections Can Help You
Considering the health effects of poor air quality, if there are any warning signs of indoor air pollutants at your home, it is advised to reach out to a trusted, professional home inspection company. With friendly, professional staff, and years of experience in both small-scale and big-scale projects, Inch by Inch Inspections can offer high-quality inspection service at a fair price. Our Certified Master Inspectors use safe, eco-friendly and efficient testing and remediation methods, strictly adhering to the procedures and safety measures to ensure that your home is pollutant free and healthy. If you are looking for an honest, friendly, professional inspector that will put your health and the health of your family first, call Inch by Inch Inspections today and schedule your inspection.