What Is My Indoor Air Quality? (IAQ)

Have you heard of indoor air quality, or IAQ, before? The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines IAQ as, “the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.”

The EPA shares that, “understanding and controlling pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.” But how do you know what is affecting your IAQ? And how do you fix it? We’ll explain that and more below:

Common Indoor Air Pollutants

The most common indoor air pollutants are more common than you might think. One of the largest indoor air pollutants in your home could be your oven. If you use a gas range or gas oven in your home, it contributes to your pollutants. A gas oven falls into a category of appliances called fuel-burning combustion appliances. Other, similar appliances that may contribute to the poor indoor air quality within that category of appliances are space heaters, furnaces, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, and wood or coal-burning stoves.

In addition to your home appliances, the building material and condition of your home can contribute to your IAQ. If a member of your household smokes indoors, they can decrease your IAQ significantly. Additionally, if your home is aging in years, and some of the materials have started to deteriorate or hold excess moisture, they may also negatively impact your indoor air quality.

How Do I Calculate my IAQ?

You can’t quite calculate a number to determine your indoor air quality. There are plenty of tools available that can help you monitor different types of pollutants in your home, particularly the dangerous ones. However, some things like smoke or moisture, are easily measured in a one-size-fits-all IAQ test. You might find some tests for purchase online that target major pollutants or allergy triggers, but there’s no singular test to calculate an IAQ number.

You can measure your carbon dioxide levels in your home using a specialized plugin. YOu can also measure more pollutants using a VOC sensor, or, you could have a professional lab come out to your home to test for pollutants. While we do recommend keeping a carbon dioxide detector in your home, there are easier ways to improve your indoor air quality in lieu of the aforementioned expensive professional tests.

Improve My Indoor Air Quality

If you’d like to begin improving your own indoor air quality, there are a few easy tricks to start. First, proper ventilation is important. Don’t let your gas range or fireplace scare you. You can still use your appliances safely as long as you’re providing proper ventilation. Make sure to run overhead oven fans, or crack a window as needed while cooking. Be sure to clean out your fireplace flue regularly to avoid additional smoke and dust from entering your home.

Another easy trick to upgrade your home’s air quality is by replacing your air filters. Replace your air filters on a regular basis, we recommend around every 3 months. When you change out your filters, check your air ducts too. Overly dusty or dirty air ducts might be due for a good cleaning. In addition to changing filters to lower the amount of dust in the air, make sure you also vacuum regularly. Picking up lint, fuzz, and pet hair consistently can help increase your IAQ.

Contact a Professional

If you’d like to learn more about how one of our full-time HVAC technicians can help you increase your indoor air quality, schedule a service appointment. We'll check over your AC and perform any necessary maintenance and cleaning. Call us at (304) 212-2004. We look forward to helping you keep your air conditioning system in great condition this year!