Survey Reveals People Misinformed About IAQ Dangers in Homes
HARTFORD, Wis. — According to a national survey from Broan-NuTone and Kelton, nine in 10 homeowners realize poor IAQ can contribute to certain health issues, yet only one-quarter of Americans are worried about the air quality in their homes. Many homeowners are worried about bugs or insects (55 percent) or someone breaking in (50 percent), but few are concerned about less overt intruders like pet dander, dust mites, and organic compounds from cooking.
“We spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors; our home should be our sanctuary. Yet, too often homeowners overlook the warning signs of poor indoor air quality, attributing it instead to everything from asthma or the common cold,” said Dick Palmersheim, group vice president of marketing, Broan-NuTone. “Our goal is to provide quality ventilation products that improve the air we breathe while educating others on how to achieve a more comfortable, convenient living environment.”
The factors that negatively impact IAQ are not well known; most homeowners do not associate allergy symptoms, lingering food odors, or foggy bathroom mirrors with unhealthy indoor air. Less than half of homeowners know that the lack of a bathroom fan and a range hood has a negative impact on IAQ. They also don’t realize that using a fireplace, central heating and cooling, cooking often, or lighting a candle may compromise air quality.
Interestingly enough, homeowners do in fact care about moisture in their home and lingering odors, but not in relation to IAQ. Many would feel embarrassed about their guestroom being smelly or damp, or if a guest noticed an odor in their home. They view these warning signs as inconvenient problems or household issues, but a disconnect remains — homeowners don’t see these problems as a reflection of their IAQ.
Educating homeowners on the causes and signs of unhealthy air is the first step toward empowering them to take action, notes Broan-NuTone. Improving IAQ, and subsequent related health issues, is really a matter of a few simple solutions. Airflow and proper ventilation are vital to sustaining healthy indoor air. While most American homeowners own appliances that promote airflow, few use them properly. And with homes being built tighter than ever, there is less fresh air being circulated.
“Bath fans and range hoods are easy ways to drastically improve indoor air quality,” said Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and Broan-NuTone partner. “The key is to use them every time you shower or cook, leave them on for 10 minutes after you’ve finished, and replace them every 10 years.”
Beyond spot ventilation, there are also whole-house, balanced systems that equalize indoor air pressure and remove stale air from the home. These systems may just introduce fresh air alone, or include heat recovery (HRV) or energy recovery (ERV) features.
To further improve IAQ, Broan-NuTone said homeowners should maintain a regular cleaning schedule, including vacuuming, especially door mats, removing shoes when entering their home, and washing linens frequently.