December 18, 2014
Got a sore throat? Runny nose? Are you coughing, sneezing or wheezing? Maybe you have a headache that won’t go away.
You may blame your sickliness on a bug you got from a coworker. But the culprit may be your own home.
How will you know?
Ask yourself if these 4 things sound familiar:
Is that you?
You may have what the EPA calls “sick building syndrome” (SBS)—that is, your home is making you sick.
1) Poor air ventilation
Ventilation refers to the exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Poor ventilation allows harmful gases (from gas furnaces, fireplaces and stoves) and excessive moisture to build up in your home.
2) Chemical contaminants from everyday home products
Certain carpets, paints, solvents, wood-based furniture and air fresheners can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs harmful effects include:
If your home is poorly ventilated, you’re more likely to be affected by VOCs since they’re not ventilated out of your home.
3) Biological contaminants growing in your home
By biological contaminants, we mean:
According to the EPA, “These contaminants may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation.”
Sometime mold grows in your home because the humidity level in your home is too high (above 50%). Again, properly ventilating your home can help with this.
This is a summary of the EPA’s advice:
Remove the sources of pollution
Increase ventilation rates and air distribution
To learn more, check out this guide to home ventilation from energy.gov.
Get an air cleaner
Your regular fiberglass air filter only catches larger dust particles. You’ll need an air cleaner with a high MERV rating to catch small particles that can hurt your indoor air quality.
Posted in: Troubleshooting