It starts with a sniffle. Then, maybe a cough. Your eyes are itchy. Your throat is sore. Your kids have developed a little bit of a cough. Even your dog Biscuits is sneezing, scratching his face on the carpet. It is possible that your child brought home a sickness from school. After all, that Ketner boy down the street has been sick for weeks. However, it is more likely that your family is suffering from poor air quality in the home.
There are several sources of poor air quality in your home, some of which can be incredibly dangerous. There are several ways to tell if the air quality in your home could be improved. Look for the following 6 signs that indicate your home and family may be suffering from poor air quality.
1) Sudden Respiratory Complications
Exacerbated allergies, sore throat, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose bleeds, headaches, shortness of breath, coughing, asthma, dizziness… all of these symptoms are an indication of poor air quality in the home. When these symptoms are experienced all of a sudden, and by everyone in the home, poor air quality is most likely the culprit. If you and your family are suffering from any of the above respiratory complications, you may want to check-out the areas of your home most vulnerable to poor air quality. You’ll also want to check the common culprits of indoor pollution and their subsequent dangerous contaminants. Some causes of these symptoms can be fixed simply by cleaning off dirty shoes or switching from chemical cleaners to organic cleaners. Other causes can be more sinister, like Legionnaire’s disease or lead, and can be extremely dangerous. You will want to react promptly to the appearance of any of these symptoms in order to locate the source and rectify the issue. The longer poor air quality lingers, the greater the damage to your health and home.
2) Hot Spots & Cold Spots
The sudden appearance of hot spots and cold spots throughout your home indicate that your home is suffering from poor circulation. Poor circulation in your home is often symptomatic of some larger issue with your HVAC system, duct work, filters, ventilation system, or insulation. When your home is experiencing poor circulation, clogged filters or compromised ductwork, indicate that contaminants are getting into your home.
3) Mold Growth
If you notice the growth of molds or fungi within your home, your home’s air quality is in jeopardy. Mold and fungi grow in moist places, releasing spores and bacteria. Bacteria, mold, and fungi, can all cause severe health complications. Even if you do not feel sick, if you notice mold, you’ll want to immediately hire a contractor. Mold will not go away on its own. Mold will fester, grow, and spread, releasing more bacteria and putting your family’s health and safety at risk. Mold is also a great sign of problems with your roofing, insulation, and HVAC system. If there is mold, it means water is getting in. If water is getting in, so can other harmful contaminants and pollutants.
4) Bad Odors
If you notice foul and unusual smells, you may have a problem with your home’s air quality. Musty smells can indicate mold. The sickly, bitter smells of chemicals can indicate poor ventilation. Bad odors mean your air is not being successfully circulated, ventilated, or filtered. Odors can indicate dirty filters and dirty air ducts, meaning your family is inhaling the dirt, grime, and pollutants that have built-up. Poorly filtered and ventilated air holds onto contaminants for longer, circulating them throughout your home and increasing the longevity of your exposure.
5) Excess Dust
An increase in dust illustrates an increase in the collection of particulates and contaminants. Excessive dust means that your filters are not properly trapping particles in the air and means your HVAC system is continually circulating these particles and contaminants, spreading them throughout your home. Dust also attracts mites, which often exacerbate allergies and asthma.
Unusual humidity in your home is also a symptom of poor air quality. Where there is humidity, there is moisture–where there is moisture, there is mold. Be sure to check the areas of your home vulnerable to mold when experiencing humidity. Humidity may also indicate vulnerabilities with your HVAC system, your ventilation, and your insulation. Humidity is infiltrating from some weak point in your home, indicating a heightened risk of other contaminants entering.