There is a concentrated effort in today’s world to bring attention to the effects we are having on the overall environment and how our everyday activities and choices impact the environment in which we live.
However, there is less focus centered on the indoor environment of our homes which has a much more immediate and direct impact on us and our families. Normal everyday activities, along with construction design and decisions made by others, affect the air we breathe and the water we drink in our very own homes.
It is up to each of us as individuals to ensure that the air and water quality in our homes is as clean, fresh, and healthy as it can be.
We spend as much as 90 percent of our time indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor levels of air pollutants may be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor levels. There are so many things that can negatively impact the air quality in your home and with the focus on tightening up houses to yield energy efficiencies, these problems can be more prominent.
- Moisture Accumulation – Everyday activities such as bathing, cooking, and washing laundry increase the moisture level. Basements and crawl spaces are the most moisture laden areas of the home as seepage from outside and lack of ventilation increases and traps moisture in these areas. They therefore contain the most problematic air mass in the home. That air mass makes its way into the upper areas of the home through natural airflow known as “stack effect.”
- Mold Growth – Moisture nourishes mold growth along with other biological contaminants. Mold proliferation can lead to respiratory ailments such as asthma.
- Dust Mites – Invisible to the naked eye, dust mites are the most common allergen-producing organism found in homes. They live in our carpets,
upholstered furniture, pillows and mattresses. However, in high-humidity environments, they thrive and reproduce.
- Gases – Vapors and gases from the ground are known to permeate through the foundation floor and walls in the basements and crawl spaces. This is
the natural point of entry of radon gases and toxic vapors that seep in undetected. Combustible appliances such as furnaces, gas dryers, and water heaters can also leak harmful gases into the air.
- Formaldehyde – Building materials, cabinetry, carpeting have formaldehyde which is given off in a gaseous state and has a life span of 10 years or more.
Viruses – Viruses and bacteria from common health ailments and other sources pollute your home’s air allowing diseases to spread from one person
- Energy Efficiency – It is a scientific fact that it requires less energy to heat or cool a dry environment as opposed to a moist one. Energy efficiencies
gained from building tighter homes will be lost if moisture accumulates and the HVAC system needs to work harder. Energy guzzling dehumidifiers don’t help solve the energy problem nor do they improve indoor air quality. As per the EPA recommendations, mechanical ventilation with replenishment air provides the necessary moisture control while improving indoor air quality in the most energy efficient manner.
While musty odors in your home alert you to the fact that mold is present, many of these indoor air pollutants can go unnoticed. It is important to attack these problems head on so that you ensure your family is breathing clean, healthy air.
Whether you get your water from the local municipality or from a private well you need to make sure it is as clean and as healthy as possible. Municipal water can be laden with contaminants, but as long as they are below some government determined level, they are allowed to enter your home. Protecting just your drinking water is not enough as some pollutants can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled when bathing or showering.
- Chlorine – Used by municipalities to kill bacteria in the water, chlorine is prevalent in
most municipal water sources. Studies have shown an association between chlorine, it’s by products and cancer. According to the American Journal of Public Health, “up to 2/3 of the harmful effects of chlorine is due to inhalation and skin absorption while showering.”
- THMs – THMs (trihalomethanes) are a broad category of organic chemical compounds that are formed from organic compounds interacting with
chlorine. Continued exposure to THMs can have harmful effects to the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. “One common factor among women with breast cancer is that they all have 50-60% higher levels of these chlorination by-products (THMs) in their fat tissue than women without breast cancer…” – BreastCancerFund.org
- VOCs – VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs can
cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, or damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
- Fluoride – Many assume that consuming fluoride is only an issue that involves your dental health. However, some scientific studies have found an
association between fluoride and adverse health effects including osteoporosis and bone fracture, immune disorders, and low intelligence.
- Iron – Iron, Manganese, and rust particles in the water will leave brown, orange, or black stains on sinks, toilets, and other water appliances. It can also
stain clothing and leave hair discolored.
- Hydrogen Sulfide – Hydrogen Sulfide in the water can emit a rotten egg smell also associated with a sulfur odor. Sediment – Dirt particles will make water undrinkable and unsightly
- Hydrogen Sediment – Dirt particles will make water undrinkable and unsightly.
- Gases – Well water can contain gases such as radon and methane. Negative by-products from fracking can contaminate a well. That’s how you get
water that can light on fire.
Some of the aforementioned contaminants are visible to the naked eye, others can be detected through taste or smell, but others can go completely unnoticed. It is imperative to ensure that the water flowing through your home is clean, fresh, and healthy.
HQ Hometek offers unique, revolutionary products to help you improve the overall environment of your home. Make sure that the two vital elements of air and water that you and your family take into your bodies on a daily basis is the best they can be.