Let’s face it - with increased traffic, population density and industrial processing of all types, our global air quality has taken a serious hit over the past fifty years. Luckily, there are many sweeping initiatives, including world-wide legislation, that are helping to reduce the impact of air pollutants on our planet.
But how can the air quality right in our own homes affect us? Indoor air quality can suffer from a wide variety of domestic pollutants like cleaning solutions, indoor wood smoke, chemicals used in manufacturing products like upholstery and carpet, smoking, products used in construction like fiberglass, and improperly maintained heating/cooling systems. Hot weather and humidity can also raise the levels of some indoor air pollutants, especially if your home is not well ventilated.
This poor home air quality can result in a variety of physical symptoms in you (and even your pets) such as:
It’s important to observe when your symptoms occur – are they better when you’re away from your home for extended periods of time? Do they worsen when you come home? Of course, keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be attributed to unrelated causes such as colds, infections or flu and the fact that some people are just more sensitive to reduced air quality.
However, if you suspect this may be a problem in your home, here are a few ideas that can help improve and maintain better indoor air quality.
Assuming you’ve done all that you can to reduce the sources of indoor air pollution and improve the air circulation, you might decide to add an air filtration system for even greater effect. There are a number of different types including stand-alone systems or add-on filters to your furnace. Keep in mind these are typically good at catching the minute particles in the air, but they are not meant to remove gases. Also note that Health Canada warns that ozone-generating air filters may be hazardous to your health and are not recommended for home use.
Ultimately, your home air quality is something that you can take steps to improve and maintain, improving your comfort while reducing your risks of pollutant-related issues.