Outdoor Air Pollution’s Effect On Indoor Air

March 19, 2020

Coming inside may only offer a brief respite from smoke, pollen or dust that you interact with outside. While it may feel as if your home is a fortress against the outside world, the truth is that the air within your house is recycled once or twice per hour. Therefore, it is possible that irritating particles and pollutants can follow you wherever you happen to go.

Do You Have Flowers or Trees in Your Yard?

If you have flowers, trees or other plants in your yard, there is a chance that dirt or pollen could find their way into your home. After you mow the lawn, there is a possibility that grass clippings could hitch a ride on your shoes or clothes and into your property. This doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of everything that makes your lawn beautiful to improve your home’s indoor air quality. However, it is important to understand how your landscaping decisions could potentially impact your ability to breathe indoors.

Do You Live Near a Factory?

Factories or other processing facilities are notorious for producing carbon dioxide and other harmful gases that are thrown into the atmosphere. Those chemicals can easily find their way from an industrial district to your home. This may be true even if you live several miles away from the source of the pollution.

In addition to poor indoor air quality, smog, soot and other particles that land on your home could cause serious damage to siding or other parts of your home. In fact, they could lead to corroded condenser units or furnaces that don’t work as well as they otherwise would.

Fortunately, the folks at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in Macomb County, MI, can take steps to help keep your home safe and comfortable. For instance, we can repair your air conditioner or inspect your furnace to make sure that it runs properly. We can also clean your home’s ducts or do an indoor air quality assessment.

If you live in an area that experiences a lot of air pollution, it may be a good idea to have your home’s ducts cleaned at least once per year. In addition to having them cleaned, a technician can make sure that they aren’t loose or defective in any way.

You can also have your furnace and air conditioner cleaned at the same time that your ducts are being vacuumed out. In some cases, simply changing out the air filter can help your system work more efficiently. It will also prevent dust and other particles from being sent back into the air because the air filter can collect them adequately. Generally speaking, air filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, and you can write the date on the filter to remind you when it should be changed next.

What Happens When Dirty Air Gets in Your Home?

When polluted air enters your home, it could either circulate throughout the property or settle on various surfaces throughout the property. For instance, dust that gets into a basement might result in a clogged furnace blower motor or fan. Pollen or dirt could also make a furnace work harder than it needs to or compromise other components within your home.

You may also notice that dirt, pollen and other debris coat the sides of your home’s ducts or start to accumulate on vents. Over time, this debris limits the amount of air that can go through a duct or through a vent. It is likely that you will notice that your house isn’t at a uniform temperature or that your heating and cooling bills have gone up.

What Impact Does Polluted Air Have on Your Health?

Poor air quality can have a variety of impacts on your health. For instance, you may have trouble breathing whether you have finished running on the treadmill in the basement or are simply trying to watch a movie on the couch with your family. If you have allergies, you could experience a runny nose, coughing or a mild fever after being exposed to whatever particles you’re allergic to.

If you are exposed to carbon monoxide or other harmful gases, you may develop breathing or other health problems even if you were perfectly healthy before the exposure occurred. The same could be true if your home has a mold problem that is not taken care of in a timely manner.

Poor Air Quality Could Result in a Pest Infestation

Poor outdoor air quality could be enough of a reason for rodents, insects or other pests to seek refuge in your home. Once they are inside, dust from their droppings could be picked up and transported throughout the property. You may also notice the scent of urine or other foul odors that animals create while in an enclosed space.

In addition to causing indoor air quality problems, pests could cause significant damage to your home. A roof deck that has been chewed through by carpenter ants could increase the chances of water getting into your home. That could create conditions that are ripe for mold growth. Furthermore, the water that falls from the sky could be contaminated by pollutants in the air, which could increase the rain’s acidity.

Steps to Take to Minimize the Impact of Poor Outdoor Air

There are a variety of things that you can do to minimize the negative impact of outdoor pollution while inside of your home. It is a good idea to ensure that windows and doors fit in their frames. You can apply caulk or add weatherstripping to seal off any gaps that might exist. It is also a good idea to have your roof inspected at least once a year to ensure that it isn’t leaking.

Siding can be professionally cleaned once a year to wipe away pollen or dirt that has accumulated on it over the last several months. Painting doors, siding or anything else that is exposed to the elements can further protect these components from damage. By keeping the outside of your home as strong as possible, you can prevent more dirty air from entering the inside of the property.

Installing an Air Filtration System Could Be a Possibility

An air purification or filtration system can remove more of the irritating particles that you might otherwise breathe in. The use of a humidifier during the winter months could help keep air pollution to a minimum as particles may have a harder time floating in moist air. At a minimum, it could make it easier to dust, vacuum or otherwise keep surfaces free of things that you don’t want in your home.

As you spend many hours inside of your home, it is important that you have the best possible air quality. At C & C Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer many different options to keep your home as comfortable as possible, such as improving air quality, installing new air conditioners or adding new ductless mini-split systems. If you are interested in learning more about improving your home’s indoor air quality or heating and air conditioning equipment, give us a call today!

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