Residential

Indoor Air Quality

An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality

If you're in the market for a new HVAC system, you're not unlikely to see "IAQ" mentioned at every turn. But while this may seem like a complex technical term, IAQ - which refers to indoor air quality - is both simple and essential to understand. We'll go over the basics to help you gain a better understanding of why IAQ matters and how it affects your home.

IAQ Defined

As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality encompasses the quality of the air within or around a given structure. IAQ typically concerns any pollutants or contaminants present in the building's air, as well as how those pollutants may affect the health of the building's occupants.

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?

The key reason why every home and business owner should understand IAQ is that living, working or simply visiting buildings with poor air quality could lead to a multitude of adverse health effects. Some of these symptoms may occur immediately, such as headaches, nose and throat irritation and dizziness. But even those that do manifest quickly can be hard to distinguish from typical cough and cold symptoms. This could make it easy to overlook poor air quality as a primary cause.

Poor IAQ may cause long-term health effects, too. Certain pollutants are known to lead to serious respiratory and heart conditions, while others may even lead to cancer. The gravity of these conditions makes it especially important to ensure that your home or place of business receives IAQ assessments and to outfit your property with the right equipment to ensure adequate air quality.

Causes of IAQ Issues

By now, it should be clear why IAQ is so important - but determining what exactly causes these issues isn't so simple. There are many sources of indoor pollution, and each poses its own unique danger. Common causes of poor indoor air quality include:

  • Mold
  • Household cleaning products
  • Paint
  • Pets
  • Building materials
  • Outdoor sources (pesticides, germs, pollen, and other allergens)
The presence of these pollutants can be aggravated by improper ventilation, excessive moisture and other common household troubles.