It may be intangible and hard to measure, but indoor air quality (IAQ) can affect a healthy lifestyle.
IAQ effects are difficult to measure because some of them aren’t apparent until decades later. Some of the effects, like those associated with carbon monoxide (CO), are quickly obvious, but volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are another case entirely.
VOCs come from anything made from hydrocarbons and are known to cause cancer, heart disease and nervous system damage in susceptible people. Not everyone is affected by VOCs, but considering how much potential they have for causing disease, it’s worth erring on the side of caution and avoiding them as much as possible.
Unfortunately, many of the products used in homes contain VOCs like air fresheners, cleaning products, paints, dry cleaning, perfumed candles and dryer sheets. Avoiding them altogether is your best defense followed by fresh air ventilation.
IAQ and Heart Health
There is a clear connection between IAQ and heart health, especially when it comes to smoke. Tobacco smoke contributes to heart disease by straining the heart muscle. Nicotine is a stimulant that makes the heart work harder. Inhaled smoke also contains CO that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, another heart stressor.
Besides the CO exposure, the contaminants caused by smog can cause inflammation in the heart that can trigger distress in vulnerable populations. Vehicle emissions also create microscopic particles, known as particulate matter (PM), that harm the vessels in the lungs and heart, which can cause arterial disease in all populations regardless of age or health.
You can lessen the effects of bad IAQ by using ventilation, filtration and purification. HVAC appliances like air filters, balanced ventilation systems and UV (ultraviolet) lights all lower the population of harmful VOCs and other particles in your air. UV lights are particularly effective against VOCs, while HEPA (high-efficiency particular air) filtration systems trap all but the smallest particulates.
If you’d like to learn more about IAQ effects and how to reduce their impact, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, providing HVAC for Monmouth County homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).