Is Your Home Giving You Sick Building Syndrome?
If you feel sick in your house and suddenly it improves after you leave, only to notice recurring symptoms when you return home, you might ask—is my home giving me sick building syndrome?
We are here to explain sick building syndrome, discuss its symptoms, effects, and causes, and help you with solutions to this problem.
What is sick building syndrome
The term sick building syndrome was first identified in the 1970s as a condition that describes situations in millions of Americans' homes experiencing acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent inside the house, without a specific illness or cause identified.
What are the symptoms of sick building syndrome
Anyone can be susceptible to sick building syndrome. Sometimes diagnosing sick building syndrome can be difficult because of the wide range of symptoms.
You may mistakenly self-diagnose yourself with a cold or flu. It is important to note though that sick building syndrome affects everyone differently.
Symptoms vary for every family member staying at home, as they may or may not experience having the above symptoms. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all.
The most common symptoms of sick building syndrome may include:
Headaches and dizziness
Aches and pains
Irritated, blocked, or runny nose
Eye and throat irritation
These symptoms might come and go fairly quickly. You may notice them within an hour or two of entering your house but also notice that they will be gone within an hour or two of leaving.
What causes sick building syndrome
Everything from your home may contain harmful chemicals that can make you sick. Not just any air pollution but the nasty stuff inside your home’s floor to the roofing.
Since awareness of sick building syndrome developed in the 1970s, researchers have tried to pinpoint the precise causes; however, no one single cause has been identified.
Though there are many theories on what causes sick building syndrome.
Commonly cited culprits are inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor sources, and chemical contaminants from outdoor sources.
1. LACK OF PROPER VENTILATION
While the goal of homeowners is to achieve greater building tightness for energy efficiency, some amount of air exchange is necessary to maintain good indoor air quality. Without it, contaminant levels remain high because they are not diluted.
High concentrations of chemical and biological contaminants become trapped inside and can cause the symptoms mentioned earlier, especially in sensitive individuals.
This inadvertently leads to a buildup of indoor pollutants and the spread of disease in buildings with high occupancy.
2. CHEMICAL POLLUTANTS
Cleaning products and materials used indoors are sources of harmful air pollution that can create a noxious environment, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as significant contributors to adverse health.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are especially detrimental to your health. Everything, from carpet adhesives to pressed wood products to paints, emits VOCs into the indoor air.
Even chemicals used outside can make their way indoors and pollute the air. These include vehicle exhaust, back drafted carbon monoxide, and garden chemicals.
3. NATURAL POLLUTANTS
In addition to chemical contaminants, biological and microbial contaminants negatively affect the quality of indoor air quality as well as multiply in indoor environments.
This includes airborne bacteria, viruses, pollen, mite feces, pet dander, and standing water harbors mold growth, which compromises indoor air quality. A poorly maintained exterior allows rodents to enter and leave their droppings behind.
All of these biological contaminants have negative effects on indoor air quality and can cause health problems.
4. OUTDOOR CHEMICAL POLLUTANTS
Not all of the outdoor air that enters a building is beneficial for air quality.
For instance, outdoor contaminants such as vehicle exhaust or diesel fumes, smoke, and dust can enter your home through poorly located air intake vents, windows, and other openings, such as the garage. This will contribute to unhealthy indoor air.
5. INDOOR POLLUTANTS
Industrial products or chemicals such as adhesives, carbon monoxide, pesticides, formaldehyde, and unvented space heaters can cause sick building syndrome. Additionally, there is contamination caused by gases emitted from certain paints and carpets.
Given the variety of factors that can cause sick building syndrome, it’s difficult to pinpoint one single cause. You might be able to work with a professional to eliminate possible risk factors. This way, you can get to the source of the problem.
Can sick building syndrome be prevented
Unfortunately, at this point, you may not be able to tell if an indoor space has poor air quality factors that can make you feel sick. So, it’s important to figure out how to keep it safe as early as you can.
Still, you may be able to take preventive measures to reduce your risk of sick building syndrome to keep you and your house healthy.
Tips To Reduce The Likelihood of Sick Building syndrome
Let’s go through these helpful tips below:
TIP #1. Ensure that you open your windows to get some fresh air. Adequate airflow and distribution are critically important.
This might not work in places where the climate is at 93 degrees and 80% humidity outside, but an energy-recovery ventilator can bring fresh air into your home without sacrificing comfort or energy efficiency.
TIP #2. Make sure that all chemicals should be properly stored and only used with proper ventilation as well.
TIP #3. Select furniture and carpet made with low contents of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and only paint with low-VOC paints. It will help prevent sick building syndrome.
Experts also suggest homeowners remove items likely to contain VOCs whenever possible.
TIP #4. Using caution with any indoor chemicals, such as bleach and insecticides. You can store questionable things in your garage if you must or another area away from your home.
TIP #5. Eliminate VDCs by using sealants or foil-backed drywall to separate living quarters from materials that contain harmful substances. There are at least 6 wall coverings that are alternatives to drywall.
TIP #6. Also, the EPA recommends only purchasing the amount of paint, paint strippers, and kerosene you will use in the immediate future.
TIP #7. Get rid of dust mites whenever possible. Wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week. You can also use zippered covers on your mattresses and pillows.
TIP #8. Vacuum regularly (using HEPA filters) and discard the contents as soon as possible. Don’t forget to vacuum and dust typically forgotten areas, such as under your bed or on top of hard-to-reach places.
Also, make sure the humidity level in your home is less than 50 percent, since bed bugs like high humidity levels.
TIP #9. If you want to solve sick building syndrome, start by identifying and eliminating the main sources of indoor air pollution to make sure your home isn't at risk for sick building syndrome.
Make sure to perform a few key maintenance: A thorough inspection should include the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as the ductwork, and remember to check the attic and under floors for proper air circulation.
Have your home and HVAC system inspected, especially if you suspect mold growth may be an issue. Mold found at home needs to be professionally cleaned up, whether it’s in your walls, ducts, or your air conditioner’s coils.
To further decrease indoor air pollutants, consider an electronic air cleaner or whole-house filtration system. Like a dehumidifier, these systems work with your existing HVAC to clean your home’s air and keep your home and family healthy. Call SCDVC for professional help.
TIP #10. Schedule routine duct cleaning. If you have central air and heat, you should have your ductwork cleaned at two-year intervals to maintain high-quality indoor air.
TIP #11. Clean your dryer vents. Moisture accumulation from unclean dryer vents can contribute to mold development inside your home. You should schedule a professional dryer vent cleaning at least once a year, but do it more often if you do a lot of laundries.
TIP #12. Professional A/C and furnace cleaning help keep your HVAC system as efficient and clean as possible. To maintain clean indoor air, you should have these appliances cleaned annually.
TIP #13. Install an air purification system. Adding an air purification system with HEPA filtration and UV sanitization can dramatically improve your indoor air quality. Though small, portable units do work, a more robust unit will undoubtedly maintain cleaner indoor air.
TIP #14. If high humidity is a problem, consider adding a whole-house dehumidifier to your HVAC system. A dehumidifier connected to a smart thermostat can keep your home’s humidity in the ideal range of 40-50%.
That will help prevent mold growth and make your home more comfortable too.
For Clothes Dryer Vent Cleaning Contact SCDVC TODAY!
Most people still spend most of their day at home with their family, and man of us now work from home as well. Therefore, the environment needs to be safe and healthy for us to function better and be more productive.
If you believe your clothes dryer vent should be cleaned as prt of your effort to mak yur hme safer for your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Southern California Dryer Vent Cleaning for help, as we've proudly served Southern California residents for over a decade.
Rest assured that our expertise and honest service are the best in the area.
To request a free quote or learn more about our services, call us today at 951-290-3105 or send us a message. Our friendly staff we’ll be in touch to give you more information about our offered services.
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