What is “Indoor Air Quality”

indoor air qualityThe term “indoor air quality” doesn’t refer to one specific characteristic of the environment within a home or commercial structure. Rather, the quality of indoor air is a totality that consists of several factors: manmade pollutants affecting indoor air, natural contaminants such as mold and bacteria, comfort issues like poor ventilation, inconsistent temperature, and too much or too little humidity.

To conserve energy, today’s homes are built to far stricter standards of air-tightness, substantially reducing infiltration of fresh outdoor air. Because the average American spends the majority of every 24 hours inside this very enclosed environment, indoor air quality has an increasing impact on health and well-being.

Specific factors that influence the quality of indoor air:

  • Gaseous pollutants. A wide range of manmade chemical vapors can concentrate to unhealthy levels inside homes. Volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde are often present in glues and other common household products including building materials. Paint, cleaning solvents and carpeting may also exude chemical vapors. Carbon monoxide can accumulate to dangerous or even deadly levels from an improperly vented gas-fired furnace, stove or water heater.
  • Biological pollutants. Microscopic mold spores exist everywhere in nature. When exposed to the right conditions of indoor moisture and temperature, these dormant spores activate. Active mold contamination in the enclosed interior of a home continuously releases millions of reproductive spores, exposing occupants to a daily dose of allergic spores far more concentrated than in the great outdoors. A myriad of physical symptoms and illnesses may affect susceptible individuals. Dust mites are another airborne source of allergic responses in humans.
  • Poorly functioning HVAC system. Maintenance issues with the furnace and air conditioner may filter indoor air inadequately, causing excess humidity and making homes chronically cold in winter and/or too hot in summer. Leaky HVAC ductwork and insufficient insulation in the house also contribute to discomfort and poor indoor air quality. Temperature extremes, high humidity levels and excess dust in the air all have both comfort and health consequences.

Ask the experts at Rytech, Inc. how professional water damage and mold remediation helps safeguard indoor air quality.

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