Air simply put is something that we cannot live without, with no air every living thing on land or amphibious creature would be finished. The planet has ways of cleaning and producing the air that we breathe, and unfortunately, the planet is struggling to filter the air. This is due largely to humankind and the pressures we place on the fragile ecosystem, for more about air quality keep reading. We do have the means of testing air quality and when it reaches certain levels people are advised to stay indoors or at least avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.
But it’s not just the air quality outside that is important, the air that we breathe indoors can also be detrimental to our health. The vast majority of us spend large parts of our days indoors, whether it is working, shopping, sleeping, or simply relaxing with the family. It is important to not neglect the air quality and the circulation of air in the buildings we often frequent. At work or in the mall it is the responsibility of the safety officer to ensure the quality of the air we breathe, but at home, it is the occupant’s responsibility. Use a guide to testing indoor air quality and if necessary ask the advice of a professional if your home has issues.
How do You Test The Quality of The Air Indoors?
The quality of the air in private and public residences is often worse than the air quality outside. The air quality of course varies from building to building to get an idea you can look up in the local newspaper or the internet the outside air quality. This will give you a good idea of what you are dealing with, but not entirely. The quality of air in your home has many different variables, here is the most reliable way to check your home:
- Purchase from a hardware store or online a recommended air quality monitor. Simple to use and easy to translate the data provided.
- Testing for mold is very important, it can have serious effects on the lungs.
- Install carbon monoxide monitors through the premises, carbon monoxide has no smell and is hard to detect without them.
- Testing for radon is also important, a natural substance that can find its way into your home through damaged cavities. Radon causes severe side effects when exposed.
Air quality monitors are not particularly expensive and anybody can use them, also check any vents and ensure they are clean and able to allow air in and out.
The Main Causes of Low Quality Air, Indoors And Outdoors
Indoor pollution sources are the main cause of low quality air inside the home or business. Poor ventilation that no longer brings in fresh air from outside and equally fails to remove the polluted air is often a major contributor, always ensuring filters are clean and not blocked. Some of the most common indoor pollutants include:
- Tobacco products
- Fuel burning combustion sources
- Personal care, household cleaning products, and maintenance solutions or dust
- Materials used in the construction of the building including old asbestos used in insulation, furniture made from certain pressed woods, and
- Recently installed carpet or new flooring
- An excess of airborne moisture
The importance of any single source depends on the levels released to the indoor space. Ovens poorly installed or maintained can release carbon monoxide and you have any doubts consult a professional.
Outdoor pollutants that can affect the indoor environment including:
- Traffic pollution
- Living near an industrial building
- Agriculture waste
- Living close to a refuse or garbage dumping site, the items being deposited may be ok on their own but when they all start to decay gases can be released
- Biogenic matter which can be caused if you live near a farm
There are many causes to both problems if you have concerns contact your local environmental agency and ask for advice or take a look at the relevant website.
How Did We Come to This Environmental Catastrophe?
The earth is a very big place with what at one time seemed like an endless supply of resources. When Europeans first traveled across the Atlantic and arrived on North American soil they were amazed by the vast forests, plains, and the never ending supply of wildlife. But as history has taught us as it did the settlers, mother nature requires a delicate balance or negative things will happen. This is especially true for the environment and the air we breathe. With the onset of the industrial revolution and the explosion of populations around the world, we were taking more than the planet could sustain. Industrial pollution from factories was unchecked and cities were blanked in industrial smog.
To be fair at the time nobody knew of the health risks and the potential environmental damage that was being done. It was not until recently that are health was directly concerned by the environment, but there are still people in denial about this. It is without a doubt that lung diseases such as Asthma have become more prevalent in people who have a family history of the disease. Allergies are also on the increase especially in the areas with large agriculture and industrial plants.
The Quality of The Air in Your Home Can Affect The Value
It may seem like when you are preparing to sell or lease your home that you have ticked all the boxes and everything is ready, but one thing you may have overlooked is the quality of the air. It is worth remembering that a real estate agent or potential investor may check the air quality, and if it falls below the standard limits they know that it is going to cost money to rectify the problem. This cost is likely going to be reflected in the final price you are offered.
When preparing to leave clean all the ventilation systems, and if applicable let as much fresh air into your home or premises. If you still feel it doesn’t meet a high standard consult with a professional about how the air quality can be improved, even if you have to pay now it could easily be offset by the sale value. One upside of this is you are now aware of what you are looking for in your new home and can ask the seller to make improvements on your potential new home.
We breathe it every day from the moment we are born until the day we die, but many of us do not appreciate how important the quality of the air is inside our home and place of work. Most of us spend the majority of our days indoors either working, shopping, or taking care of the home, yet we neglect to maintain the air quality. Often fumes and gases cannot be seen or even tasted, so it’s very important to maintain any device which can potentially give off any toxic fumes.
Ensuring that ventilation systems are running correctly and kept clean, if it is not on a weekly list of things to do, it should be. Whilst considering selling your property check that everything is ok and the potential new owners are satisfied with the air quality and you are also satisfied with your new one.