According to the Environmental Protection Agency, studies have shown that indoor air pollutants can be 100 times higher than outdoor air pollutants. Even though regular (or frequent) dusting and vacuuming helps reduce your home’s dust and dust mites, not all airborne particles can be adequately eliminated. Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a health/safety concern and is related to the following issues:
- Improper or inadequately maintained HVAC systems.
- Contamination by construction materials (glues, fiberglass, paints, chemicals, etc.)
- Overall increase in number of occupants
- More time spent indoors by individuals
These factors may lead to individuals reporting one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
- Shortness of breath
- Hypersensitivity and allergies
- Sinus congestion
- Coughing and sneezing
In a workplace setting, most people become symptomatic within a few hours of arriving at work and feel better after leaving the office or when they are away from the office for an extended period of time (i.e., the weekend or a vacation). If one’s home has poor IAQ, diagnosing the problem may be more difficult, especially if individuals spend a lot of time in the home. These symptoms could also be the result of the common cold or the flu, which may make a diagnosis more difficult.
If symptoms persist, affected individuals should talk with their health care provider. Keeping a diary of symptoms and checking for any patterns that may be traced back to either the workplace or home is recommended. If one suspects that the home is the culprit, changing the HVAC air filters more frequently is a good first step. Switching to HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air or High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filters may also help resolve symptoms. If these 2 steps do not improve IAQ, check with Goettl’s High Desert Mechanical for other functional additions to your HVAC system.