Indoor Air Quality Can Affect Your Physical and Mental Health

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  • 21 Dec, 2022
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Indoor Air Quality Can Affect Your Physical and Mental Health

It’s an obvious fact to say that your family is very important to you. You want them to be happy and healthy. Yet, what would you do with the knowledge that something inside your home could be making them sick? Pollution inside your home could be affecting your family’s health. With Americans spending an average of 87% of their time indoors, poor air quality could be causing illnesses. If you’re looking for solutions to remove indoor air pollutants from your home, call Aspire Heating & Cooling at 336-281-0047.

Aspire Heating & Cooling is a veteran-owned local company. We serve homeowners in Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Bermuda Run, Mocksville, and Advance. As a Trane Authorized Dealer, we offer some of the strongest HVAC warranties in the business. Moreover, we provide maintenance and repair on any type of HVAC system, including heat pumps and ductless units. Furthermore, we’ll service your unit even if you purchased it elsewhere. Plus, we offer affordable solutions to improve your indoor air quality.

Our team is dedicated to providing you with upfront pricing and reliable service. Our NATE-certified technicians will diagnose and find a solution to fit your situation. NATE-certified technicians must pass a nationally recognized test demonstrating their knowledge of heating and cooling systems. Consumers know that with a NATE-certified technician, they’re getting the best service for maximum comfort with their HVAC systems.  Furthermore, you’ll experience a quick turnaround time with our guarantee of your complete satisfaction. Call us today at 336-281-0047 to set up an appointment to assess the quality of your indoor air.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Indoor pollutants come from many sources. An old furnace could be spewing carbon monoxide into your home. We release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) with the use of everyday products like cleaners and disinfectants.  Bacteria, viruses, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores travel by floating in the air. Also, when we walk across a carpet, we release waste and dead pieces of dust mites into the air.  Confined within the walls of your home, the concentrations of these pollutants can reach unhealthy levels. During winter months (or a pandemic), we typically spend more time indoors. Thus, we inhale more of these indoor pollutants.

Outdoor pollutants like pollen and animal dander easily enter your home and may cause allergic reactions in some people. Most of these allergens float in the air, entering through open windows. Sometimes they’ll attach themselves to your shoes or clothing.  Many biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and asthma attacks. Others, like mold, can release toxins into the air causing chronic disease.

Furthermore, bacteria and viruses also travel in the air. Some microorganisms thrive and circulate through poorly-maintained ventilation systems. Tuberculosis, measles, staphylococcus, Legionella, influenza, asthma, measles, and chickenpox are all airborne illnesses. Additionally, scientists believe COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic we are currently experiencing, is also airborne. Moreover, some people experience allergic reactions to endotoxins, substances that come from the broken-down cells of dead bacteria.

Then there’s Also Particulate Matter Air Pollution

Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Dust is a major contributor to indoor particulate matter.  Burning food while cooking can also introduce large quantities of PM into the indoor environment. Second-hand smoke and wood-burning fireplaces are other sources of indoor PM. Furthermore, outdoor particulate matter enters households through natural and mechanical ventilation.

Most particulate matter is very small and easy to inhale. Some particles are so tiny they can get deep into your lungs and even get into your bloodstream. All indoor environments contain some PM. Unfortunately, indoor PM levels can greatly exceed outdoor levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists several illnesses linked in inhalation of PM:

  • premature death in people with heart or lung disease
  • nonfatal heart attacks
  • irregular heartbeat
  • aggravated asthma
  • decreased lung function
  • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing

Moreover, studies show that children have a greater long term health risk with developmental issues. Repeated exposure can lead to reduced lung growth, asthma, and acute respiratory illness. While pregnant women exposed to even low levels of particle pollution had a higher risk for pre-term birth. In adults with heart disease, exposure has been linked to heart attacks.

Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Cause Depression?

Undoubtedly, there are many causes of depression.  Additionally, scientists cannot pinpoint the exact area of the brain that causes it.  However, mounting evidence suggests that chronic inflammation may cause depression. Moreover, exposure to indoor air pollution may cause chronic inflammation.

When a person breathes in a foreign body like bacteria, the body responds. First, a group of cells called macrophages attack and destroy the invading toxin. Repeated exposure may require other types of antibodies. Thus, macrophages also secrete proteins to send messengers for help from other types of immune cells. One of these protein messengers is cytokines.

Some studies have shown that cytokines can affect how the dopamine system in the brain functions. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Dysfunction of this system leads to certain types of depression. Additionally, exposure to air pollutants raises cytokine levels causing physical changes in the hippocampus region of the brain. The hippocampus region of the brain is one area that plays a significant role in depression. Thus, poor indoor air quality may be responsible for some types of depression.

Dry Winter Air Can Also Cause Illnesses and Triggers Allergies

Primarily, when we think of indoor air quality, we consider allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Yet, dry winter air can also negatively impact our health too. Generally, indoor humidity levels should range between 30-50%. However, the humidity of dry winter air can be as low as 15%.

Air with low humidity levels draws out moisture from our bodies. Our nasal passages and mouths can become especially dry as we continually breathe in dry winter air. As airways dry out, they become irritated and swollen. Dry and irritated passageways increase the risk of asthma attacks and people’s health can suffer, just from low humidity.

Also, as dry winter air removes moisture from our bodies, we produce less mucus. Mucus has an important function of trapping germs and dust. Without enough mucus to effectively trap viruses and bacteria, we can become more susceptible to illness. This is why influenza, bronchitis, and sinusitis are more common in the winter.

Dry skin in the winter months can be more than just an annoyance. Your skin is an active part of your immune system and often, the first line of defense against germs. Low humidity air can draw moisture from your skin leaving it dry and cracked. If you develop cracked and bleeding skin, bacteria and viruses can enter into your bloodstream more easily.

Your Comfort Also Affects Your Health

Often, we think of being unhealthy as having sickness or disease. However, the dictionary defines health as a condition or state. If you are too hot or cold, you may not feel comfortable. This level of discomfort may cause your level of activity to decrease. Therefore, air quality encompasses not only the cleanliness but the temperature of the air as well.

When considering possible solutions to your indoor comfort, don’t overlook your HVAC system. Inconsistent indoor temperatures are often a sign that your system needs servicing, repair or replacement. If it’s been a few years since you’ve had your system serviced, consider scheduling a tune-up soon. At Aspire Heating & Cooling, our maintenance plan covers 2 visits per year. We check a long list of components to ensure your HVAC system is running efficiently.

However, if your system is nearing 15 years of age, you should start to think about replacing it. You may be experiencing uneven temperatures in your home. Plus, old systems aren’t as efficient as the newer models. Thus, a new HVAC system will save you money on energy costs. Moreover, older systems tend to have more costly repairs and break down more often. In the older systems, the best you can do to boost the air quality of your home is to replace the air filters often.

As a Trane Authorized Dealer, we sell America’s Most Trusted® HVAC System.  This designation means we are committed to excellence in installation, service, and customer satisfaction. For over 100 years, Trane has been building innovative and reliable heating and cooling systems. Trane’s energy-efficient units produce the best possible indoor comfort for your home.

Some Simple Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Another possible cause of irregular indoor temperatures is a faulty thermostat. With a lifespan of 10 years, your thermostat may stop functioning properly before your HVAC fails. Faulty thermostats may be the cause of your HVAC running constantly or differing temperatures throughout your home.

At Aspire Heating & Cooling, we offer the VisionPRO® thermostat. This thermostat allows you to program and manage your indoor comfort remotely. Plus, you can view outdoor temperature so you can adjust your indoor climate as necessary. Finally, the Honeywell VisionPro® has intuitive technology. It’ll turn on your system before you arrive home, helping you feel comfortable the moment you walk into your home.

Simply adding a humidifier to your heating system can alleviate dry nasal passages leading to illness. Moreover, humidified air feels warmer, so you can use lower thermostat settings for added energy savings. Our Carrier fan-powered humidifiers blow the correct amount of moisture directly into your ducts.

Filtering the air is a great way to remove particulate matter, which is another in the list of contaminants in our air. A Honeywell filter box can attach to any forced air heating or cooling system. As air flows past the filter, dust, pollen, dander, mold, and bacteria become trapped in the pleated filter. Thus, the air entering into your living space will be free of these pollutants.

Consider a Device with Germ Killing Capabilities

If you suffer from frequent infections or asthma, you may want to consider our Global Plasma Solutions® device. GPS® technology is highly effective at killing Norovirus, Staphylococcus, and E. coli. Plus, this air purification system can remove 95% of airborne mold spores. With over 30 patents, GPS manufactures potent air cleaning equipment without producing ozone or any other harmful by-products.

We also carry the Air Knight® air purification system. This unit will dramatically improve the breathability of your indoor air. Using new technology, units remove odors, air pollutants, VOCs, smoke, mold, bacteria, and viruses. Best of all, the unit is virtually maintenance-free.

If you’re not sure which device is best for your home, call us at 336-281-0047. We’ll listen to your concerns and ask you questions about your needs. Then, we’ll make comprehensive recommendations unique to your situation. In the world of HVAC and indoor air cleaning systems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every home’s requirements are different. Ask for our free consultation and we can guide you to the solution that best fits your family, home and budget.

Indoor Air Quality Is Essential for Good Health

Very often we take for granted the air we breathe. We don’t think about how it could be compromising our health. Yet, indoor air quality problems have both short-term and long-term health consequences. At Aspire Heating & Cooling, we understand the relationship between indoor air pollution and your health. Just as you want the best for your family, so do we.

That’s why we provide unique solutions to fit your needs. We use state-of-the-art technology, hands-on experience, extensive training, and organized job sites to give you the best possible service. Serving the greater Winston-Salem area, we want to be your HVAC company. So, call us at 336-281-0047 to set up an appointment to evaluate your indoor air quality. Don’t wait another day to breathe in pollutants, call today.

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