According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90% of their lives indoors, where pollutants are two to five times more concentrated than outdoor air. Pesticides, mold, pet dander, carbon monoxide, and other chemical byproducts are some contaminants that impact indoor air quality and, potentially, your health. The less energy your home uses, the fewer pollutants it produces, so we recommend a comprehensive home energy audit to assess the environmental health of your home and the quality of your indoor air.
How Indoor Air Quality Is Assessed
Ventilation, where fresh air is continuously exchanged to dilute indoor pollutants, is key to maintaining healthy conditions within the home. At Minnick’s, we provide a thorough home energy assessment to give recommendations with the goal of improving your home’s indoor air quality through energy efficiency. We will conduct a series of tests and inspections of your HVAC equipment, points of entry, and the condition of crawl spaces, attics, and ventilation systems throughout the home. Read more about Maryland home energy audits by the Minnick’s team here.
What is Considered Poor Air Quality?
The ventilation system’s condition, the residents’ behaviors and habits, the cleaning products used within the home, and the home’s construction all play a role in indoor air quality. The air quality index (AQI) is a scale of 0-500 used to measure air quality. The EPA states that an indoor AQI above 100 is considered poor air quality. A rating over 300 indicates hazardous air quality.
Health Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality
The effects of poor indoor air quality increase with the amount of exposure. Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat could happen fairly quickly, while more severe symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue may occur within as little as a few hours. Respiratory or heart diseases and even cancer are some long-term consequences of living in a home with poor air quality. The unfortunate truth is that those most at risk for experiencing the effects of poor air quality are those who spend the most time indoors, such as children, the elderly, and those suffering from respiratory ailments like asthma.
What Causes Indoor Air Quality Problems?
A comprehensive home energy assessment will answer this question as it relates to your home by analyzing a few factors that impact air quality.
The ventilation systems incorporated in your kitchen, bathroom, furnace, and water heater can lead to poor air quality if outdated or poorly maintained. Outdated ducts may not be as effective as they should, and dirty ductwork simply recirculates contaminants into the air.
Condition of the Attic and Crawl Space
Improperly sealed attics and crawl spaces let cooled air out and force your HVAC to work harder to compensate for the energy loss. In addition, warm air can create muggy conditions in your attic that are perfect for mold and other bacteria growth. Similarly, moisture in crawl spaces pushes humidity into your home from below.
Pest Problems and Places of Entry
Like attics and crawl spaces, improperly sealed entry points and air leaks could invite allergens, pesticides, and other outdoor pollutants and pests into your home. This can be avoided by having the gaps and cracks in your walls sealed by a professional.
Learn More About the Home Air Sealing Experts
Humidity and Humidity Control
Ideally, the atmosphere in your home should be between 30 and 60% humidity. It’s essential to keep in mind that maintaining these levels could mean using a dehumidifier during the summer when the weather is more humid and a humidifier during the dry winter months. Humidity that is too high creates a suitable environment for mold, bacteria, dust mites, and pests, so it is important to adjust your approach seasonally.
Volatile Organic Compound Issues
Many outdated construction materials emit volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s. VOC’s are carbon-based chemicals that readily produce vapors and gasses you could be inhaling. A common example of toxin-emitting material in this category is the insulation found in old homes.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit to Assess Your IAQ
A home energy audit does more than just tell you about the condition of your indoor environment. Our service providers will calculate your IAQ after our home energy audit and give practical solutions. Solutions could include repairing your heating and cooling system, sealing your air ducts, upgrading ductwork, or providing options for humidity control and air monitoring.
Schedule a Whole-Home Energy Audit With Minnick’s in Laurel, MD
Protect the health of you and your loved ones by scheduling a home energy audit in Laurel, Maryland with Minnick’s. You can trust our experienced professionals will provide a thorough home energy audit and recommendations for improving the indoor air quality in your Central Maryland home. Visit us to learn more about our energy audit and indoor air quality assessment process.