Indoor air quality is a concept that most people are probably familiar with, and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) may seem to be an equivalent, interchangeable term. However, IEQ is a much more comprehensive measurement of various factors that contribute to your home's overall interior comfort.
Here is a detailed look at what IEQ entails, how it can affect your life, and what you can do to improve your home's IEQ.
What is Indoor Environmental Quality?
Your IEQ is the measure of how your home affects its occupants in terms of smell, appearance, certain health factors, and comfort. While there can be other elements that impact IEQ, these factors are some of the most common ones:
Localized or overall dampness
Mold or microbial growth
Why Indoor Environmental Quality Matters
Particulate matter, like dust or pollen, can exacerbate allergies or asthma, and long-term exposure to mold can cause breathing problems or other medical issues in susceptible people.
Certain chemical cleaners or even electronic equipment like a fax or copy machine can release fumes into the air, and many household textiles may also have flame retardants or other chemical treatments that lower air quality.
Poor lighting can result in eyestrain and headaches, and increased noise levels can disrupt sleep or increase stress.
Improving Your Home's Indoor Environmental Quality
You and your loved ones likely spend a great deal of time inside your home, so taking steps to increase your home's IEQ can help promote both comfort and good health.
Have Your Ductwork Cleaned: Since your home's ductwork can be a prime location for dust or other particulate matter to accumulate, a professional duct cleaning is one of the best ways to improve your home's indoor air quality immediately.
Increase Natural Lighting: Even the best artificial lights can't replace the sun's rays, so let as much sunlight into your home as possible.
Open the blinds every day
Trim trees or shrubs near windows
Replace heavy window treatments with lighter options
Open Your Windows: Letting the fresh outdoor breeze inside whenever possible allows for natural ventilation, and opening the windows can be especially helpful in areas that tend to harbor dampness. Additionally, an open window is a great way to give offensive odors and built-up fumes the chance to escape.
Don't Block Registers or Air Returns: Your HVAC system is your home's primary method of ventilation and air circulation, and blocked outlets can greatly reduce your furnace or air conditioner's effectiveness.
If your registers are either on the floor or low on the wall, be sure to move any furniture or other objects that impede airflow.
Be Vigilant for Subtle Signs of Excessive Moisture: Mold can start to take hold in damp areas, so be alert for early signs of retained water.
Discolored or mildewing spots on walls
Leakage in plumbing pipes or your water heater
Bottom line: Your home's IEQ is a convenient way of evaluating several factors at once. By learning more about IEQ and taking a look at your home with fresh eyes, you can promote health and comfort for yourself and your loved ones. For all of your indoor air quality needs, contact Kern Heating & Cooling at (847) 383-0350.