Indoor air quality refers to the condition of the air within buildings, including homes, offices, schools, and other enclosed spaces. The significance of IAQ cannot be overstated, as the average individual spends approximately 90% of their time indoors. 

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we seldom stop to ponder the invisible elements we breathe in our homes and workplaces. However, the quality of the air we inhale indoors can significantly impact our health and well-being.

In this blog series, we’ll dive deep into each aspect of indoor air quality, understand various factors that decrease indoor air quality, and provide actionable tips to empower you to make informed decisions about your living spaces. From DIY home testing kits to professional air quality services, we’ll explore the available options to gain insights into the quality of the air we breathe every day.

Remember, improving the air you breathe is a proactive and transformative step towards a healthier and happier life.

Why Indoor Air Quality is Important?

Indoor air quality is a big deal. It’s important for your health, the health of your family and friends, and the health of your home. And it’s something you can take control of right now.

You might think indoor air quality only affects people working in factories or other industrial environments. But it actually affects everyone—including you! And if you’re not taking care of it, it leads to serious health problems.

Here are several reasons why indoor air quality is important:

Indoor Air Quality Impacts Health

Did you know that the average person spends 90% of their time indoors? That’s a lot of time breathing in indoor air quality, so it’s important to ensure your indoor air is as clean as possible. Poor indoor air quality can lead to extreme health issues like asthma and allergies, contributing to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. If you want to avoid these symptoms, make sure there are filters in place that will keep allergens from entering your home or workspace.

Indoor Air Quality Affects Productivity and Performance

Indoor air quality impacts more than just our bodies—it also affects our brains! Studies have shown that poor air quality can lead to reduced productivity and performance at work or school by making us feel less alert and more fatigued than usual. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your workplace or school environment by reducing distractions from other people around you, consider investing in better ventilation systems (like whole house fans) or installing an HVAC system that keeps your indoor air clean!

Indoor Air Quality Affects Comfort and Well-Being

Indoor air quality is about more than just “sick building syndrome.” It’s about how you feel in your home—about how comfortable you are there, how healthy it makes you feel, and how safe you feel. Indoor air quality has been shown to affect our moods, cognitive performance, concentration levels, and even productivity. We spend 90% of our time indoors, so it’s important that we maintain safe levels of pollutants in our homes.

Indoor Air Quality Affects Vulnerable Populations

There are several groups in our communities who are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality: children and pregnant women; those with asthma; people with chronic respiratory illnesses; older adults; and people with allergies or chemical sensitivities. These populations should have access to cleaner air so they can live healthier lives. The WHO reports that approximately 570,000 children under the age of five die each year due to respiratory infections, often caused or worsened by indoor air pollution.

Indoor Air Quality has Long-Term Effects

It is a common misconception that outdoor air pollution is more severe than indoor air pollution. However, the EPA reveals that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air on average. In some cases, indoor air pollution can be up to 100 times higher than outdoor levels, especially in poorly ventilated spaces or those with significant pollutant sources.

Indoor Air Quality Affects Energy Efficiency

Proper management of indoor air quality, including efficient ventilation and air circulation, can lead to improved energy efficiency in buildings. When ventilation systems are functioning optimally, they help maintain a balanced and controlled indoor environment, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling, thus saving energy and lowering utility costs.

Indoor Air Quality Impacts Environment

Indoor air pollution can also have indirect effects on the environment. Some pollutants that enter indoor spaces, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can contribute to outdoor air pollution when released from products and materials indoors.

Which Factor Would Increase Poor Indoor Air Quality?

We live in a world where poor indoor air quality is a real problem. In fact, it’s so common that most people don’t even think about it. But the truth is that bad Phoenix indoor air quality can cause a lot of health problems, especially if you have a family or pets.

The 10 main factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality Phoenix, Arizona quality are:

Inadequate Ventilation

Poorly ventilated areas can accumulate pollutants in the air, such as dust, pollen, and mold spores. This can lead to respiratory problems, including asthma attacks and infections like Legionnaires disease.

Indoor Pollutant Sources

The second factor that contributes to poor indoor air quality Phoenix is the presence of indoor pollutant sources. These include things like cigarette smoke, chemicals from cleaning products and carpets (which can release volatile organic compounds when they’re new), cooking odors from your kitchen or bathroom, pollen from plants outside your window, etc.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are found in damp environments, such as bathrooms or basements. They can grow on surfaces like drywall or tile if they’re not properly cleaned and dried. Mold spores spread through the air when they become airborne. This can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to them.

Dust and Allergens

Dust and allergens are common sources of poor indoor air quality. Dust is made up of tiny particles that come from dirty air filters, furniture, carpets, electronics, and clothing. Allergens include things like pollen from trees outside or pets inside your home. When these particles get into the air throughout your home, they can cause symptoms like sneezing or itchy eyes for people who have allergies to them—even if you don’t see any visible signs of dust or pollen!

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are emitted as gases from certain household products, such as paints, varnishes, cleaning agents, and air fresheners. Long-term exposure to high levels of VOCs can cause respiratory irritation and other health problems.

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that can be found in homes and buildings. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. When radon gas enters your home, it can get trapped in your home’s air. You can’t see or smell radon, so you may not know it’s there until you test for it. 

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by appliances that burn fuel without sufficient ventilation, such as furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, and water heaters. CO can build up indoors and poison people who breathe it. It also can cause flu-like symptoms in healthy people. CO alarms can alert you to potential CO problems before they become serious or deadly.

Poorly Maintained HVAC Systems

Poorly maintained HVAC systems can cause poor indoor air quality. Make sure your system is working properly and have it professionally cleaned at least once per year. If you have pets, consider installing a HEPA filter in your system so that pet dander doesn’t get circulated throughout the house.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Outdoor air pollution can also affect indoor air quality by depositing particulate matter on furniture and floors inside buildings. To minimize this effect, keep windows closed whenever possible when there are high outdoor air pollution levels in your area (or when there’s heavy traffic nearby). Also, try to keep all vents open in rooms where you spend most of your time (such as bedrooms).

Occupant Activities

The number of occupants and their activities can influence IAQ. For instance, overcrowding can lead to increased CO2 levels, which can cause discomfort and reduce cognitive function.

How to Test Indoor Air Quality?

The health of your home is just as important as the health of your body. You wouldn’t think twice about getting a checkup at the doctor’s office, and it’s no different for your home. Testing the air in your home is a great way to make sure it’s healthy and safe for you and your family.

But what does testing your indoor air quality entail? How to improve indoor air quality, And how do you know if you need to get it done? 

There are several methods for testing indoor air quality, ranging from simple DIY tests to professional assessments. Here are some common approaches:

DIY Indoor Air Quality Test Kits

Indoor air quality test kits are an easy way to find out if there are any pollutants in your home. You can buy these indoor air quality testing kits at most hardware stores or online retailers. They’re usually pretty inexpensive and relatively easy to use—just follow the instructions on the package!

Indoor Air Quality Monitors

Indoor air quality monitor devices measure indoor air quality by analyzing the amount of particulate matter in the area. They often come with sensors for VOCs as well as carbon dioxide and temperature measurements. Some also have sensors for humidity and other metrics that can affect indoor air quality.

Professional Indoor Air Quality Testing

If you’re concerned about the quality of your indoor air, consider having it tested by a professional Air quality service company. A professional company will come out and do all the work for you, and they’ll also give you a report that will help you understand what’s going on with your indoor air quality.

Radon Testing

Radon is a radioactive gas that can build up in your house and make you sick. Unfortunately, radon testing isn’t always cheap (especially if you have a large house), but it’s definitely worth checking out if you think there’s a chance that radon could be affecting your health or the health of those who live with you.

Mold Testing

Mold is a fungus that grows on organic matter like wood or paper. It can cause allergies and respiratory problems, especially in people who have asthma or allergies to mold spores.

Mold testing can help you find out if there’s mold in your indoor air. You’ll collect samples from the air in your house and send them to a lab where they’ll perform tests on them to find out if they contain mold spores. The lab will tell you what types of mold are present, so you’ll know which ones might be causing health problems for you and your family members.

Allergen Testing

Allergens are things that cause allergies in people who are sensitive to them (like dust mites or pollen). If you want to know if any allergens are present in your home’s air, then allergy testing might be right for you! It collects samples from the air inside your home and sends them off for analysis at an allergy testing lab (like Allergy Labs).

Combining Methods

The best way to ensure that your indoor air is safe for you and your family is to use more than one method of testing. This will help you get a clearer picture of what’s happening inside your house, which means you can be more confident about what changes you need to make in order to improve things.

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

We’re living in a world where we can’t escape the harmful effects of poor indoor air quality. From the moment you wake up in the morning and start your day to when you go to sleep at night, we are constantly surrounded by poor air quality. 

It’s not just bad for our health—it’s bad for the planet. The EPA estimates that indoor air pollution is responsible for 80% of all illnesses caused by poor indoor air quality.

But there are several ways you can improve your indoor air quality. Here are some effective strategies to improve indoor air quality:

Regular Cleaning

The easiest and most effective way to enhance your indoor air quality is by regularly cleaning the surfaces in your home. Dust, debris, and other particles can build up on your floors and furniture, making it harder for you to breathe.

Use a Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate or have been exposed to too much heat, humidity can help alleviate some of the symptoms of dryness. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture back into the air without having to spend time outside in cold weather.

Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most effective strategies to improve indoor air quality, as it removes unwanted pollutants from your home and helps you breathe easier. 

Indoor Plants

Plants are a great way to improve indoor air quality because they naturally filter out harmful substances like dust and pollen, which can cause allergies and asthma symptoms. For best results, choose plants that are known to be high-quality air filters and keep them in sunny areas of your home, such as near windows or in rooms with plenty of natural light.

Use Low-Emission Products

Low-emission products are those that emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than other products. These products include paints, stains, cleaners and varnishes, adhesives, floor finishes, and sealants. VOCs can cause health problems such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, and even cancer over time.

Control Humidity

Humidity is another factor that can impact indoor air quality negatively because it allows mold growth to occur more quickly than usual. Mold can cause eye irritation and respiratory problems in certain individuals, so controlling humidity levels in your home is important!

Properly Ventilate Cooking Areas

If you have a kitchen or other area that is used for cooking or preparing food, it’s important to ventilate it properly. This will help remove odors and fumes that could cause health problems. You can also use an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter in areas where cooking happens frequently, such as restaurants and commercial kitchens.

Radon Mitigation

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that can lead to lung cancer when inhaled over time. It’s found naturally in the soil, so if you live in an area where there’s a lot of dirt, your home may be more likely to have higher radon levels than others—and this can cause problems for your family’s indoor air quality overall. Radon mitigation systems can help reduce radon levels inside your house, so you don’t have to worry about breathing dangerous gases into your lungs every day!

Monitor Indoor Air Quality 

Use an air quality monitor to check on the levels of common indoor pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, and mold spores in your home. These pollutants are known triggers for allergies and asthma attacks.

Avoid Smoking Indoors

Smoking indoors is a major source of indoor air pollution. A cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic. These include benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, and arsenic. The chemicals can remain in the air for up to three months after smoking has occurred.

Proper HVAC Maintenance

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It’s a system that helps control your home’s temperature and ensures you have fresh air to breathe. If it’s not maintained properly, it can lead to dust buildup in your ductwork and vents, which can lead to respiratory issues for everyone in your family. To avoid this problem, schedule annual maintenance checks with a professional HVAC technician in Phoenix, AZ. They’ll inspect your entire system to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

DIY Vs. Professional Indoor Air Quality Services

Let’s face it: when you need indoor air quality services, you’re probably not looking for an amateur.

When you want the job done right and done well, you need a professional. But what exactly is the difference between DIY and professional indoor air quality services? And how do you know which one will work best for your home?

So we’re going to compare DIY indoor air quality services and professional indoor air quality services to help you figure out the best option for your home.

CriteriaDIY Indoor Air Quality Test KitsProfessional Indoor Air Quality Services
CostRelatively affordable.More expensive but comprehensive.
Testing ScopeLimited focus on specific pollutants.Comprehensive testing for various pollutants.
Ease of UseDIY with clear instructions.Requires trained professionals.
Testing AccuracyResults may vary.More accurate with professional-grade equipment.
Sample AnalysisResults take time to receive.Immediate on-site analysis.
Testing ParametersCovers a limited number of parameters.Measures multiple IAQ parameters.
Potential DetectionMay miss complex or less-known issues.Identifies hidden and less common pollutants.
RecommendationsBasic suggestions based on test results.Tailored action plans for specific IAQ issues.
Additional ExpertiseLimited access to expert advice.Offers expert knowledge and guidance.
Time and EffortRequires time and effort for testing.Handles the entire testing process.
Complex Issues ResolutionMay not identify complex or multiple issues.Tackles complex IAQ problems with solutions.

Get Help from Professional Indoor Air Quality Service Provider in Phoenix, AZ!

The air quality in your home can majorly impact your health, especially if there’s a lot of dust and allergens floating around. If you’ve noticed that the air in your home is feeling a little stale or hard to breathe, it might be time to call Ideal Air Conditioning and Insulation!

Our Phoenix IAQ experts are here to help you get the air quality in your home or business back on track. Our team has been helping homeowners and businesses with their indoor air quality needs for many years now, and we’ve seen it all, from duct cleaning to mold removal to complete system replacement. We’ll work with you to create a plan that fits your needs and budget, and then we’ll carry it out—no matter how big or small the project may be. We specialize in:

  • Indoor air quality testing
  • Energy efficiency solutions for your home or business—from ductless mini splits to whole house systems
  • Whole house humidifiers
  • Duct cleaning services (which can reduce allergens by up to 90%)

We believe that every home should have healthy air quality as standard equipment. We want everyone who comes through our doors to feel comfortable in their own space, whether in their bedroom or kitchen. 
If you need help with Indoor Air Quality Solutions in Phoenix, contact us today at 602-358-7101!