It always surprises homeowners to learn that their indoor air isn’t nearly as high-quality as they think it is. While we pride ourselves on having clean and welcoming homes, the truth is our homes are often saddled with low-quality, stagnant air that’s riddled with issues. While many people go to great lengths to try and resolve these issues, they are usually only treating the symptoms rather than the problem. This is why it is important to learn what actually causes your air quality to degrade and focus your efforts on fixing the issue at the source.
Fortunately, your air quality problems may actually be easier to solve than you may have ever thought. Here are four common and legitimate reasons why your indoor air quality may be suffering and a few simple steps you can take to turn things around.
You Aren’t Vacuuming or Dusting Often Enough
This often surprises a lot of people. You vacuum every month and will typically break out the dust cloth every time a noticeable layer of dust has built up on your furniture. That’s great, but this typically only handles the problems that you can see. Dust is a big contributor to poor indoor air quality, but it accumulates in so many places you may not think about or be able to see. Do you have shelves that sit above your eye level? Studies show these rarely get dusted or cleaned. Do you regularly vacuum your carpet in places like bedrooms or out of high-traffic areas? These may be huge sources of stored dust that are rarely cleaned properly.
Perhaps you are cleaning these areas, but you simply aren’t doing it often enough. Keeping your home clean is essential to improving your indoor air quality. Disturbed dust that is kicked up into the air can cycle back into your HVAC system, and some particles manage to evade capture in your air filter. The best way to get rid of them is to continually clean your home and keep it as dust-free as possible.
Your Air Ducts are Dirty
One of the areas where dust and other quality-reducing grime can build up is somewhere that you simply can’t see on a regular basis: inside your air ducts. While your air filter removes much of the dirt and other debris from the air, most filters aren’t capable of capturing the smallest microbes like mold spores or bacteria and viruses. Add in moisture from condensation and you have conditions that are perfect for creating rather nasty messes that you may never realize exist. We recommend having your air ducts professionally cleaned every two to three years to mitigate this issue, and likewise having them treated with an anti-microbial coating can help prevent these issues from forming and spreading.
You’ve Gone Nose-Blind
Odors are one of the most common indoor air quality problems that homeowners deal with, but they’re also one that homeowners may not even realize exists. Our brains are truly remarkable things: over time, they can actually become accustomed to and literally block out a certain stimulation, preventing us from ever realizing it’s there. This happens extremely frequently with foul smells, and is sometimes referred to as going “nose-blind.” This can happen with everything from cooking odors like bacon or broccoli to sweat or body odor smells. However, this is all too common with smoke smells—smokers may not realize their home strongly bears the stench of their cigarettes, but visitors who haven’t gone nose-blind to the issue can detect it from the moment the door opens to them. And when you can’t detect a foul odor, there’s a good chance you won’t do anything to eliminate it.
Your Air Filter Needs to Be Replaced
Finally, one of the reasons your air quality may be suffering so badly is simply because your air filter isn’t doing its job. Why would it stop working? Simple: its’ full and can’t hold any more debris. Once an air filter fills up, your air conditioner or heater begins pulling more and more debris through the filter simply because many of the holes or gaps that would otherwise be used for this have been blocked with dust particles. As more of this debris is pulled through your system, more of it cycles back into your home, thus degrading your air quality while simultaneously placing more wear and tear on your HVAC system and draining more energy. This means you’ll spend more on your utility bills, and your HVAC system could break down faster as well. We strongly recommend checking your air filter once a month and then replacing it as-needed, or usually every three months or so, depending on your home.If your indoor air quality is a concern for you, the experts at John Owens Services may have a solution that can help. Give us a call at (415) 942-6565 to schedule an appointment today.