It’s really easy not to think about indoor air quality. Unlike a lot of other home repair problems, its negative consequences aren’t immediately apparent. It’s possible your home could have air contaminants you don’t even know about!
It might seem like monitoring air quality should be a secondary concern. Unfortunately, it can’t be. If your air is contaminated with dangerous particles or fumes, you’ll breathe them in constantly. If you experience any of the following symptoms regularly, it’s high time you have your air vents professionally examined.
There’s a pernicious myth suggesting that air can only have bad effects on your health over sustained periods of time. A lot of homeowners put off cleaning air vents, believing contaminants can only affect them over long periods of time.
This is unfortunately not the case. You may begin experiencing minor health issues after only a single, brief exposure to an air contaminant. People with preexisting medical conditions are particularly at-risk. Airborne pollutants such as fuel, smoke, asbestos, carpet or wood particles, wood particles, dust, pesticides, or excess moisture can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
Short term symptoms of air contamination include coughing, sneezing, a sore throat, itchy eyes, fatigue, nosebleeds, dizziness, headaches, congestion, and sneezing. Often, homeowners will attribute symptoms like these to allergies or colds, without considering the possibility of an air hazard. If you experience any of these symptoms (and weather permits!), consider getting some fresh air, and see if it subsides. Don’t ignore even minor symptoms like little headaches or dry eyes; there’s a reason it’s happening, and that reason might be your home’s air quality.
Long term symptoms of air quality are trickier to nail down, because everyone reacts to air pollution differently. Prolonged exposure to polluted air could result in a number of very serious illnesses, including respiratory diseases, heart diseases, or cancer. Again, people with preexisting medical conditions should be especially aware of their home’s air quality. Some research suggests that prolonged exposure to airborne contaminants can make the victim more susceptible to air quality problems.
Many of the health effects associated with “long term” exposure may begin to manifest in a manner of days, not weeks or months. One of the major problems with exposure lasting this long is that victims may become accustomed to feeling a certain way. It’s not uncommon for air pollution victims to attribute related lethargy, chills or feverishness, nausea, or recurring headaches as flu symptoms or the consequences of bad sleep. It’s vitally important, for ALL aspects of your personal health, to be aware of how you’re feeling at all times. If you think you’re not feeling well, don’t try to convince yourself otherwise; trust your body.
It’s important you stay aware of your home’s indoor air quality at all times. Check your air filter once a month to see if it needs to be replaced. Consider investing in a dehumidifier for your basement or attic. If you’re concerned about your air quality, the first thing you should do is have your vent system professionally cleaned. If there’s something in your vent causing a pervasive air quality problem, cleaning is how you find it.
Remember: air quality isn’t a boogieman. As easy as it is to forget about, it’s also easy to attribute any and all of your problems to it. First, take a proactive stance on maintaining clean air: learn about indoor air pollution, what you can do about it, and where to start. Next, make sure you don’t spend all day every day worried about it. Finally, remember that you’re not in this alone. The experts at Blue Ox Heating & Air will be happy to set you up with everything you need to make sure your home’s air stays fresh and clean. Schedule a service anytime, and we’ll be there.