How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Health

Sep 28, 2023 | Indoor Air Quality

The air quality in your home is just as important as the air quality outside. In fact, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is because homes are often poorly ventilated and can contain a variety of pollutants, such as mold, dust mites, pet dander, and secondhand smoke.

According to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, the average American will spend approximately 93% of their lifetime indoors. Given this substantial indoor time, homeowners often wonder about the safety of the air they breathe within their homes. In today’s age, numerous older homes lack adequate mechanical ventilation, and some of these homes even incorporate potentially harmful building materials.

Poor indoor air quality can have a significant impact on your health. Short-term effects can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Long-term exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to more serious health problems, such as asthma, allergies, lung cancer, and heart disease. It’s no surprise that homeowners are deeply concerned about the quality of the air they’re exposed to and are actively seeking assistance to improve the cleanliness and safety of their indoor environments.

The Dangers of Bad Basement Air Quality

Basements are particularly susceptible to poor air quality. This is because they are often damp and dark, which creates ideal conditions for mold growth. Mold can release spores into the air, which can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory infections, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions. Other common basement air pollutants include:

  • Radon: A radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer.
  • Carbon monoxide: A colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Chemicals that can be released from paints, cleaning products, and other household items. VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and can also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 4.3 million people die prematurely each year due to illnesses caused by indoor air pollution. This includes respiratory diseases, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Poor indoor air quality can also lead to increased healthcare costs, absenteeism from work and school, and decreased productivity.

The Benefits of Good Indoor Air Quality

Good indoor air quality can have a number of benefits for your health, ensuring that the air you breathe within your home promotes well-being and comfort. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory even found that improving ventilation in commercial buildings can lead to a 10-20% increase in productivity. Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining energy-efficient homes and workplaces. Other overall benefits include:

  • • Reduced risk of respiratory infections, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions
  • • Improved lung function
  • • Reduced risk of lung cancer and heart disease
  • • Increased energy levels
  • • Preventing Mold Growth and Musty Smells

Better sleep is another benefit of good indoor air quality. During sleep, our breathing rate naturally slows down and becomes more consistent. The presence of cleaner air is crucial during this time since respiratory irritation and allergens suspended in unclean air can significantly impact the quality of our sleep.

One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality – particularly in your basement – is to prevent mold growth. High humidity levels in basements create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold spores release allergens and mycotoxins, which can trigger allergic reactions and worsen respiratory issues. You can mitigate mold growth by:

  • • Keeping your basement dry and well-ventilated
  • • Repairing any leaks promptly
  • • Removing any sources of moisture, such as wet laundry or firewood
  • • Cleaning your basement regularly with a mold-killing cleaner

You can also reduce musty smells in your basement by using an air purifier. Air purifiers can remove mold spores, dust mites, and other pollutants from the air. Prioritizing good indoor air quality isn’t just about comfort; it’s a fundamental aspect of maintaining your health and well-being. By taking steps to improve and maintain the air quality in your home, you can reap these benefits and create a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Contact Summit Basement Company for a Free Basement Inspection Today!

If you are concerned about the air quality in your basement, Summit Basement Company can help. We offer free basement inspections to identify any potential problems and recommend solutions. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection – your health is worth it!

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