Indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a topic that everyone should be concerned about.
Because poor indoor air quality has both immediate and long-term adverse effects. Some immediate effects include dizziness, fatigue, irritation of the eyes, and headaches. Long-term negative effects include respiratory diseases, cancer, heart disease, and even death.
Of course, that’s under extreme situations and is more worrying for those with pre-existing medical conditions. However, learning about reducing air pollutants is never a bad idea. Whether you’re at home or work, caring about air pollution is essential to your well-being.
In this guide, we highlight some top strategies for making the air around you safe for breathing. Improve your lung health and longevity of life by considering the following guidelines.
First, Know the Potential Sources of Poor IAQ
The more you know about what causes air pollution, the better equipped you’ll be to combat it. While certain factors are out of your control, such as the use of pesticides near your home, there are others you can do something about, like improving ventilation.
Some of the most common, controllable sources of air pollution in the home or office include:
- Tobacco smoke
- Excess moisture (a problem that a dehumidifier could help)
- Household cleaning products or air fresheners
- Malfunctioning appliances, such as heating or cooling systems, gas stoves, etc.
- Fireplaces and chimneys
When possible, take any measures you can to ensure these sources don’t pollute your home or office’s air quality. You can take smoke breaks outside (or begin practicing cessation!), use eco-friendly cleaning supplies that are free of ammonia and chlorine, maintain appliances in your home, change the air filters often (perhaps replacing them with this 14x20x1 air filter), and more.
Next, Learn How to Test Air Quality
How do you even know if your home or office’s air quality is poor without testing it?
The answer, most likely, is that you won’t. It’s best to test air quality now—before you begin to notice the adverse health effects of poor IAQ. Then, if the tests come back with concerning results, you can begin practicing some of the above measures.
There are several ways to check air quality, leaving you with options. Consider some of the following techniques:
- Buy an indoor air quality monitor, which is an affordable way to measure humidity, temperature, VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), particulate matter, and air quality index (AQI)
- Call a professional to test the air quality
- Notice your health symptoms, considering things like when they started, how long they’ve lasted, etc.
- Purchase an air purifier
- Get a carbon monoxide monitor
Each of these methods can teach you something about the indoor air quality in your home or office. If you’re at home, you can take liberties with these testing methods and see what results you find. If you’re at the office, speak to a higher-up about what the most appropriate actions are.
Of course, if you notice that poor air quality is affecting your health, it’s crucial to seek medical advice from a doctor.
Finally, Enlist the Help of an Air Quality Professional If Necessary
If, from the home or office, you’re noticing diminished air quality and no positive results with your attempts to combat it, you may need to call in the pros. A specialist can help you identify things like sources and solutions.
In general, an air quality professional performs the following duties, depending on the severity and location of the problem:
- Checks the air quality in the home or office and identifies if nearby facilities, such as manufacturing plants, are following air quality regulations
- Takes their findings to policymakers, informing them of environmental duties and how to accomplish them
- Can help agencies, such as your company, come up with useful air quality monitoring programs to ensure prolonged health and safety
- Identifies problems and solutions within current air quality policies and programs
- Responds to air quality complaints filed by citizens, employees, etc.
- Takes an environmental assessment of factory emissions, checking for proper treatment
- Tests both offices and residences for signs of poor IAQ
- Handles all testing equipment, which includes knowing how to use, read, and maintain it
- Read results, relays messages to other air quality pros, and comes up with viable solutions
If your IAQ concerns you, and you’re not sure how to solve the problem, an air quality specialist is the person to turn to. They’ll know how to conduct the appropriate tests, read the results accurately, and come up with answers to any questions or problems.
Then, they can come back periodically to ensure the work they’ve done is, in fact, working.
Now You Know What Reducing Air Pollutants Is All About
If you’re concerned with the indoor air quality at your home, it’s up to you to take the appropriate next steps. If you live in an apartment building or work in an office that suffers from poor IAQ, take your concerns to those in charge. Inform them of all the short-term and long-term negative effects of subpar air quality, affecting everyone in the vicinity—not just you.
As you can see from this article, the more you know about reducing air pollutants, the safer you, your family, roommates, and coworkers will be. We all deserve fresh, clean, safe air. Now it’s time to do something about it.
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