When you hear the term “air pollution,” you may associate it with smog in city centres. However, the air quality inside homes and buildings can be just as toxic. Our team of specialists at Signature Home Heat and Air can tell you this firsthand. We’ve installed countless heat pumps, air conditioners, electric baseboards, gas furnaces and other heating and cooling appliances in Ottawa and Gatineau. In this article, we discuss the health effects of having poor indoor air quality and present some solutions.

Adverse effects of indoor air pollution

There are many types of indoor pollutants including cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust mites, mould and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by household products and building materials.

If there’s a high concentration of these pollutants and you breathe them in on a daily basis, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin

Exposure to air pollution can also cause allergies and problems such as asthma, arrhythmia and heart failure. The specific impacts on your health depend on the type of contaminants in the air as well as your age and overall health. Seniors, young children and people with respiratory or pulmonary diseases are particularly at risk of developing health problems related to poor air quality.

Ways to improve indoor air quality

There are a number of methods you can use to reduce air pollution in your home. Here are some solutions to consider implementing:

  • Control the humidity level using a humidifier or dehumidifier, as needed
  • If there is high humidity in your home in winter, use an approved Energy Star air exchanger;
  • Effectively purify the air in your home with a UV lamp air purifier if you suspect multiple contaminants in the air;
  • Open the windows for a few minutes every day when there’s no smog
  • Vacuum frequently
  • Replace or clean the filters in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Use the bathroom fan when taking a shower