When most people think about air quality , they ’ re typically thinking about outdoor pollution . However , according to the U . S . Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), the air inside your home can be as polluted , or even more so , than the air outside . The concentrations of some indoor pollutants can be as much as 2-5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations .
This is partly due to increasingly energy-efficient home construc tion and the growing use of synthetic materials in furnishings and interior finishes .
The air inside your home also contains pollutants from everyday activities like cooking , bathing and cleaning . A family of four can produce the equivalent of 22-30 pounds of moisture per day from normal activities , according to the Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers , while household cleaners and products like paint , upholstery , carpeting and plastics can release chemicals containing volatile organic compounds . Pets and dust mites also contribute to poor air quality .
On average , Americans spend an estimated 90 % of their time indoors , according to the EPA . All that time with minimal access to daylight and fresh air can take a toll on your health . For example , damp and moldy environments can increase the risk of developing asthma by up to 40 %, according to research published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics .
Particularly after all the extra time at home due to the pandemic , homeowners are placing greater emphasis on home design and habits that promote health and wellness . These steps for managing indoor air quality can help you create a healthier home .
Support your HVAC system
Many homeowners assume their heating and cooling ( HVAC ) system is adequate to manage their home ’ s indoor air quality . Typically , these systems only circulate existing indoor air , so you ’ re missing out on the benefits of circulating fresher , cleaner air .
What ’ s more , without regular servicing and frequent filter replacements , it ’ s easy for standard HVAC systems to fall short . This is especially true in older homes or in households where there ’ s a high volume of allergens like dust or pet dander . Adding standalone or integrated devices can help give your HVAC system some extra support . Air purifiers can effectively help filter pollutants while ultraviolet lights purify the air and help control pollutants like bacteria , mold and mildew .
Another common pitfall is humidity control . Too much moisture in the air can contribute to significant air quality problems . On the other hand , air that ’ s too dry can promote dusty , abrasive conditions that are hard on allergies and other respiratory conditions .