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7 Common Air Contaminants and Their Impact on Your Health

How Indoor Air Can Affect You

What comes to mind when you think of air pollution: Car emissions? Smog? Soot? While outdoor air pollution can be a danger to your health, your indoor air can also contain as many, if not more, pollutants. In fact, certain particles and gases in your indoor environments — whether that’s home, workplace, or office — might be the direct cause of certain health issues.

Low indoor air quality can be responsible for anything from mild discomfort to dangerous health risks. The more you know about indoor air pollution, the easier you can filter and clean your air. Here are some of the most common (and potentially dangerous) air contaminants and how they may impact your health.

Carbon Monoxide

Created from the combustion of fossil fuels, wood, charcoal, propane, and gas, this odorless, colorless gas prevents oxygen from circulating throughout your body tissues — so the higher the carbon monoxide levels, the more your health is negatively affected. In the absence of proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can build up without you knowing it.

The impact of carbon monoxide can vary, and common symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weakness and dizziness


Asbestos is often considered a thing of the past after it was very publicly linked to specific health issues. While it’s less common today, it’s still an issue in many older buildings.

Asbestos is a group of naturally-occurring minerals found in older building components like insulation or floor tiles. While the materials aren’t hazardous when their fibers are intact, inhaling broken fibers can cause health issues if they get trapped in your lungs.

Symptoms and signs of asbestos-related diseases can remain dormant for years following exposure. Asbestos may cause:

  • Tightness and pain in your chest
  • Anemia and fatigue
  • Blood in your lungs
  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a common pollutant in many environments. Though public areas and office buildings are less affected, residences and bars can still expose you to environmental tobacco smoke. It is assumed that secondhand smoke isn’t as dangerous as smoking, but studies have shown that it can seriously harm a person’s health over time.

Common symptoms of short and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Pneumonia
  • Eye irritation
  • Lung cancer

Pet Dander

Pet dander is comprised of the particles your beloved furry friends release into the air and most commonly contain fur and skin particles. Pet dander is more dangerous if you suffer from allergies, but it can also take a toll on a healthy immune system due to constant exposure.

Some symptoms caused by pet dander include:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Running nose
  • Itchy and dry eyes
  • Pain in your chest
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Headaches

With these health risks in mind, it’s crucial to clean up after your pets regularly.


Lead is a natural element in the water, soil, and air; however, when ingested in high doses, it can be highly toxic. You often find lead in plumbing materials, pipes, old batteries, and gasoline. Once you inhale this substance, it circulates through your body via your bloodstream and gets stored in your bones. Over time, the lead buildup can impact everything from your nervous system to your brain.

Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Anemia
  • Hearing problems
  • Slow development
  • Low IQ
  • Behavioral or learning problems


Mold spores are another common pollutant that, when inhaled frequently, lead to health issues. Moisture allows mold to grow and thrive, which releases tiny spores into the atmosphere. When you breathe these spores in, it causes serious damage to your health with problems like pneumonia, asthma, sinusitis, and other afflictions. Some types of mold are more dangerous than others, but all mold is known for causing respiratory issues.

Common symptoms of mold exposure include:

  • Throat irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Itching
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Sneezing

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs include a wide range of chemicals that appear in products you use each day, such as cleaners, solvents, degreasers, and household cleaning agents. These substances can also be found in colognes and perfumes.

Consistent exposure to VOCs can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Liver, kidney or central nervous system damage
  • Nose, throat and eye discomfort
  • Lack of coordination
  • Coughing

If you’ve noticed any of the signs or symptoms above, it’s important to work on improving your air quality as quickly as possible. Look into ways to help filter your indoor air and reach out to the experts at Bob Jenson to find out how your HVAC can help deliver quality, contaminant-free air to keep your family safe.

What is a Good MERV Rating for My Air Filters?

Why is a Good MERV Rating Important?

It’s important to maintain your air filters because they are the first point through which your residential air flow passes before it is dispersed throughout your home. These air filters are responsible for capturing the debris, dust, and hair in the air, help to improve your overall air quality, and can even help improve your personal health, too.

A majority of people are under the impression that outdoor air is the only element they need to worry about; but the truth is, indoor air quality can be a serious problem too. In fact, studies show that indoor air is up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air because of its exposure to and blending with to things like cleaning materials, pet dander, dust, and mold.

The key to protecting yourself from all these contaminants is to choose the correct filtration system… but how do you know which one is best for you and your home? That’s where you can use the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system.

What is a “MERV” Rating?

MERV is the guide that is used to determine how successful a filter is at controlling the flow of unwanted particles into your home. Typically, the MERV scale ranges on a rating scale from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rating, the better protected you are against contaminants.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) designed the MERV rating system to help determine the efficiency of filters within an HVAC unit. During the testing phase, they expose filters to a range of common particles of various sizes, from mold spores and bacteria to dust mites and pollen. This helps to determine the filter’s effectiveness in keeping harmful elements and contaminants out of your home.

On average, a residential temperature control system with a rating between MERV 7 and 12 should be able to remove most airborne particles. These numbers are typically higher for clinical areas like hospitals.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating

When choosing an air filter, a MERV rating can help you to determine which options will give you the most protection against allergens, bacteria, and contaminants. For instance:

  • MERV Filters between 1-4: Filters with a rating between 1 and 4 will do little to stop harmful particles from entering the home. These filters are designed to trap larger particles like carpet fibers, dust mites, and pollen.
  • MERV Filters between 5-8: Filters with ratings between 5 and 8 are sufficient for some homes because they can trap particles that are as small as 3 microns, including animal dander, dust mite droppings, and mold spores.
  • MERV Filters between 9-12: Perhaps the preferred option for most residential spaces, these filters are almost as effective as “HEPA” filters when removing particles from indoor environments. They’re great for homes with people who have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions because they can capture particles as small as a single micron.
  • MERV Filters 13 and up: If a filter has a rating higher than 13, it indicates that it’s exceptionally efficient and capable of trapping minute particles like bacteria and viruses. Usually, these appear in specialized HVAC systems, like those located at hospitals or manufacturing plants. Most residential systems won’t accommodate high-level filters like these without modification.

It’s tempting to assume that the highest MERV rating would offer the cleanest air quality – but that isn’t always the case because the MERV rating scale doesn’t follow strict logic. Therefore, it’s best to speak with a professional because they can recommend the most appropriate MERV filter for your home.

Caring for your HVAC Filter

Your air filtration system is crucial for two reasons. First, choosing the best filter helps to protect your system from airborne particles that might damage your system’s essential components, which could lead to overheating and potential damage. And second, choosing a filter with the right MERV rating ensures that you are receiving the best quality of air for your own health.

It’s important to remember that the MERV rating only indicates the minimum ability a filter has to capture airborne particles. Over time, filters begin to fill with dander and dust, which can render them unable to stop additional contaminants from passing through. A dense filter will quickly fill with debris and must be switched out often to keep your system working properly. But how often should you change your air filters?

Generally, most residential users will switch out their filters at the beginning of the season, but other factors like pets, people, and the pollution in your area could affect this frequency. Consult a professional about when and how you should switch out your filters so that you can maintain the best air quality in your home.

Remember that you’ll need to ensure that your HVAC can accommodate specific types of filters, and that choosing a higher rated filter can ultimately mean more maintenance. Our experts at Bob Jenson can offer assistance on choosing the perfect air quality filtration solution for your residential HVAC system depending on the unique needs of your home.

Spring Clean These 6 Things to Reduce Allergens

Putting the Kibosh on Allergy Triggers

Spring is in the air, and with it comes a host of allergens — from dust and pollen to pet dander. While you might not be able to cure your allergies, you can banish some of the triggers that make them worse, by learning how to properly clean and maintain a fresher home.

Plenty of typical spring cleaning chores can help to remove allergen issues and relieve your symptoms. Below are the top 6 things you can clean at the start of the season, to give yourself the best chances of a sniffle-free springtime.

Mattress, Pillows, and Bedding

As one of the items we launder less frequently, your bedding is a common source of allergen build-up. Considering the fact that you spend hours each night laying on your mattress and pressing your face into your pillows, bedroom exposure to allergens can be a significant trigger.

Vacuum your mattress to get rid of any dust and debris, and throw your bedding into the washing machine at least once a month at 140 degrees to kill dust mites. Research suggests that adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your laundry could eliminate more than 90% of dust mites.

Some down and fiber pillows can be cleaned in your washing machine, but you’ll need to check the labels for specific instructions.

Curtains and Drapes

Your window treatments can act as traps for dust and outside allergens, so cleaning them regularly can help soothe your symptoms throughout the warmer months. Use a vacuum attachment to suck dust away from drapes monthly, and remember to launder curtains if they’re washing-machine friendly.

If you have blinds that you can’t launder, use either a microfiber cloth or a slightly damp rag to pick up stray dust particles. If you and your family regularly suffer from allergies, it may be a good idea to remove soft furnishings from your home wherever possible, as these are the items most likely to gather dust.

Spaces Around Doors and Windows

The areas around your doors and windows can gather dust very quickly, and they’re often overlooked in the regular cleaning schedule. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that regular dusting in every nook can help to eliminate pervasive allergens.

Since traditional dusting practices can lift particles into the air and make symptoms worse, consider using a treated or damp cloth that attracts the dust instead of scattering it. If your allergies are particularly bad, wear a mask while you do this, for extra protection. Dust at least once or twice a week for the best results.

Large Furniture

Large pieces of furniture like sofas and chairs can be difficult to clean, but they’re also a significant source of allergens. If you have pets in your home that often curl up on your furniture, this could be making your symptoms worse. In America, up to 30% of people with allergies have reactions to dogs and cats.

Vacuum the areas around your furniture and in the nooks and crannies of the furniture itself, to help control your exposure to dust and pet dander. As with dusting, vacuuming can also spread particles through the air and trigger symptoms. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter can help solve this problem. Vacuum at least once a week, and launder any soft coverings for your furniture once a month.

Bathroom and Shower Area

When cleaning for allergies, it’s important to keep dampness under control. Machines that control humidity can be useful in this instance, but it’s also useful to check your bathroom and kitchen for signs of moisture. The more you keep on top of humidity, the less likely you are to end up with mold spores floating around the home.

Wipe down damp walls and floors with a microfiber cloth after a bath or shower. Spread out shower curtains when you’re not using the shower, to ensure that there’s plenty of room for air to circulate.

Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system should be at the top of your spring cleaning list. Many problems associated with indoor quality link back to a filter problem or an issue with HVAC performance.

A good system pumps clean air throughout your home, while removing stale air into the atmosphere outside. However, if your ventilation system isn’t working properly, it could be blowing dust around your property, or filling your home with outdoor allergens. The best thing you can do to make sure your machine is working effectively is to get it professionally inspected annually.

Regular HVAC maintenance is necessary at least once a year to help keep allergens under control. For help spring-servicing your heating and cooling system, contact Bob Jenson today for an HVAC health check.

5 Simple Steps for Cleaner Indoor Air

Why the Need for Cleaner Indoor Air?

It isn’t only the air outside that’s subject to toxins, pollution, and chemicals – the air you’re exposed to indoors can actually be five times more toxic than outdoors. From CO2 particles to household cleaning products and air fresheners, your indoor environment can contain bad air that could be affecting your health and overall well being.

But clean air isn’t out of reach. In fact, the professionals at Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating have a few simple steps for improving your indoor environments so you can start breathing easier in your home and at the office.

1. Stay Clean and Fresh Indoors

One of the easiest ways to improve air quality in your home is to keep the house clean with routine basic cleaning, like regular vacuuming. Always dispose of any garbage in a timely manner to keep your home smelling fresh and to avoid pest issues. Remember, cockroaches can cause respiratory illnesses, so address any infestations immediately.

A lack of circulation can be a big contributor to indoor air pollution at home and at the office. Make sure that there are plenty of opportunities to get the air moving inside. Open windows and doors, and use a fan to flush out toxins and CO2. If you or those around you are using chemical cleaners or paint, it’s even more important to let in some fresh air and usher the pollution outside. Better yet, do the painting outdoors or in an open garage.

2. Control the Source of Indoor Pollution

Generally, the most effective way to improve indoor air is to work on removing the things that are contributing to the flow of toxins in the first place.

If you’re unable to give up smoking, you should make sure that you smoke outside. Additionally, stay away from any chemical-rich deodorants or air fresheners. You also should not overdo it with certain beauty supplies, such as hairspray, that contain synthetic substances and can fill a closed bathroom. When it comes to cleaning your home or office, try to stick to green products and natural solutions like baking powder, lemon, and vinegar.

3. Manage Humidity and Oxygen Levels

Mold and dust mites are naturally drawn to moisture, so keep your humidity levels under control – particularly if you suffer from allergies. Ideally, you should aim for a humidity level of between 30 and 50%.

While you’ll want to reduce indoor humidity, higher levels of oxygen will improve the environment in your home and office. Houseplants are a fantastic solution for natural air purification, as they are able to remove up to 87 percent of the toxins in a room within about 24 hours. Just make sure you don’t over-water them, because this can contribute to higher humidity.

4. Install an Air Filtration System

Investing in a reliable air filtration system at home or in the office is a wise move if you want to keep your lungs in good working order. There are plenty of air quality purification systems on the market that are designed specifically to get rid of unwanted things like pollen, mold, dust mites, and bacteria.

A system with a high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating is your best bet for clean breathing. After all, the better the quality of the filter in your system, the more capable it will be of clearing out unwanted particles.

5. Perform Routine Maintenance

It’s essential to clean and replace the air filters in your HVAC system on a regular basis to prevent dust and debris from building up over time. How frequently you change your filters will depend on the type of filter, the amount of pollution indoors, and the number of people living or working in the space. You may need to replace it every month or at the beginning of a new season; the only way to know for sure is to routinely check your filter. For more serious maintenance, it’s your best bet to bring in a professional.

Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating today to speak to our team about how we can help you enjoy cleaner air indoors. We install and maintain air filtration systems and service HVAC units of all brands.

6 Indoor Activities That Harm Air Quality

Targeting the Culprits of Bad Indoor Air

The quality of the air in your home has a great impact on your family’s health. You may not realize it, but some common activities can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Smoking

This is an obvious one. Smoking indoors is one of the biggest culprits of poor indoor air quality. The smoke irritates the respiratory tracts of residents, guests, and even pets. The dangers of secondhand smoke are very real: it can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer. If you must smoke, be sure to do it outside.

2. Staining Wood

Wood stains contain a variety of harmful substances that travel through the air and can get into your lungs. This can lead to throat swelling and difficulty breathing.

Due to these dangers, you’ll want to avoid completing word-working projects inside the house where the fumes can’t escape. If working on a project that can be moved, work on it outside in the driveway or yard, or in an open, well-ventilated garage. Wait until the stain completely dries and has time to air out its fumes before bringing it inside. If you can’t avoid working on your project indoors, such as when refinishing the floors, open all the windows and run a fan or two help direct the fumes out of your home.

3. Painting

Painting is another project that can trap harmful fumes inside the home. In many cases, you can’t avoid doing this inside because it’s your interior that needs the work. For proper ventilation, ensure your windows remain open while you paint or apply primer to reduce the amount of dangerous fumes indoors. If you’re painting something smaller that can be moved outdoors, do so. This is especially true with spray paints. Always spray paint outdoors, and wear a mask for protection.

4. Cooking

Cooking is such a common everyday task that we don’t often associate it with danger or indoor air quality. However, many cooking appliances give off fumes that can be dangerous if not properly ventilated. Among these is nitrogen dioxide, which reacts with oxygen in the air to form toxic nitric acid and nitrates. Natural gas ovens, which make up about a third of all ovens in U.S. households, are particularly dangerous. Most kitchens with these ovens have fans for ventilation. Be sure the fan is running properly, and get it fixed promptly if it is not.

5. Common Household Products

Hair sprays, perfumes, solvents, cleaning agents, deodorizers, and other household products may seem harmless enough (and often smell nice), but the airborne chemicals in them can add up and negatively affect your indoor air quality. Volatile organic compounds can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and confusion. This is not to say you can never use hairspray — but it wouldn’t be wise to do it every single morning in a small, enclosed bathroom if you don’t have to.

6. Heating Equipment

Heating equipment is another potential culprit of indoor air pollution that can’t be simply avoided. Everything from furnaces to water heaters to fuel-fired space heaters can release carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, and very dangerous gas. Carbon monoxide can cause headaches and dizziness, respiratory and vision impairment, and flu-like symptoms. It can be fatal in high doses. Since it can’t be seen or smelled, carbon monoxide can easily go undetected. That’s why proper ventilation, strategically-placed carbon monoxide detectors, and routine furnace maintenance are essential to your family’s safety.

Wood burning stoves, gas ranges, unvented kerosene heaters, and more also spread respirable suspended particles into the air, which are particles small enough to inhale. This can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, respiratory infections, and emphysema.

Many of these indoor activities can’t be avoided. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your house is well-ventilated and filtered. That way, you can significantly reduce these indoor air pollutants and decrease the risk of harmful side effects to your family.

Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating installs and repairs HVAC systems of all brands, and we also offer customized air filtration systems for homes and businesses in San Diego County. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.

5 Easy Ways To Increase Airflow In Your Home

Let Your Comfort System Breath!

We all know what airflow is, but do what know what influences the airflow within our homes? Better airflow means the HVAC unit can move more heat and bring the air in the conditioned space to the desired temperature more efficiently. Reduced airflow means the HVAC unit cannot operate as effectively, reducing both its cooling capacity and energy efficiency.

The effects of poor airflow can ultimately result in equipment breakdowns — never a good thing, especially in the heat of summer when you rely on your AC the most! Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can evaluate and improve the airflow and air quality in your home.

1) Change Your Filter Regularly

One of the easiest ways to maintain proper airflow in your home is to change your HVAC unit’s filter regularly. This can also improve the air quality in your home, since your HVAC filter removes dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and more from the air that is being circulated in your space.

Manufacturers usually recommend that the filter be changed every three months, but your filter may get dirty well before that 90-day period ends, especially during the months when your unit is working the hardest. Take a peek at your filter on a regular basis. If it looks visibly dirty, replace it.

2) Use a Filter with an Appropriate Effectiveness Rating

A filter’s effectiveness rating is indicated by its minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. The MERV scale ranges from 1 to 16, with 16 being the very best. Most residential units can do the job well with a filter rated between 7 and 12; filters rated 13 to 16 usually are found in operating rooms and other sensitive settings where sterility is a concern.

3) Keep Indoor Vents Clean and Unblocked

Make sure air can flow through your vents unimpeded by moving any furniture or other obstructions that are too close to your vent. Go over the vents with a vacuum cleaner attachment regularly to keep the vent free from dust and other particles that can build up over time.

4) Check Ductwork for Leaks

If you have exposed ductwork running through an unconditioned space such as an attic, check it to make sure there are no leaks in the ducts. Even small leaks can reduce airflow, especially if there are multiple leaks. These leaks make your system work harder than it needs to, hurting its energy efficiency. You can check for leaks by running your hand just above the surface of the exposed ducts in your attic to feel for any drafts. If you find a spot where air is blowing through, seal the hole with sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape. (Despite its name, don’t use duct tape.)

In a similar manner, check the spots where the ductwork goes through the attic floor. Seal any leaks you find with foam. Once all the leaks are sealed, use insulation on your exposed ducts to help keep the air inside them at the desired temperature as your HVAC unit moves it through your home.

5) Keep Tabs By Measuring Airflow in Your Home

There are a few methods you can use to measure the airflow in your home. Some involve specialized equipment that only HVAC professionals are likely to have, but there are a few DIY ways you can try. You can find detailed instructions here.

Even if you use these tips to help improve your home’s airflow, you may find it worthwhile to have a trained professional at Bob Jenson assess your home to determine if more substantial improvements can be made. Identifying and enacting these improvements will keep your home more comfortable, and could save you money over time with reduced cooling costs and emergency service calls. Contact us today to learn how we can help!

The Role of Ventilation in Workplace Indoor Air Quality

Causes of Poor Air Quality

The air quality in your office is a major factor in the overall health and wellbeing of your employees – not to mention the productivity levels at your company.

A workplace can be negatively affected by a lack of fresh air circulation, pollution drawn in from outdoors, indoor pollution with no means of escape, air that is circulated too fast, or humidity that is high enough to promote the growth of mold.

Read on to learn more about poor indoor air quality and its negative effects, as well as how you can start improving the air in your office today.

Oftentimes, poor ventilation is the result of an effort to go green.

Ventilation may unfortunately be sacrificed in the process of building energy-efficient, air-tight offices. Within these offices, recirculated air can trap chemicals, allergens, mold, and other contaminants that begin to weigh on the building’s air quality.

Poor indoor air quality can by caused by a great range of factors, including:

  • Bacteria and microorganisms in the ventilation system
  • Ozone and radiation from copiers and building insulation
  • Off-gassing and emissions from carpets, cleaning compounds, glues, and particle board
  • Carbon monoxide from traffic, smoking, and over-occupied or poorly ventilated areas
  • Moisture due to high humidity, leaks, or water damage

Health Effects of Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality can cause symptoms that seem to be present only while you’re at the workplace and abate once you’ve left for the day.

“Sick building syndrome” is a phenomenon that encompasses many of these issues and can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including prolonged allergies, cold symptoms, eye and skin irritation, and difficulty breathing. This syndrome commonly emerges in workers employed within buildings and offices that do not have proper ventilation. Other times, the health effects are more serious.

The particulates, allergens, and airborne contaminants that become trapped inside a poorly ventilated office can exacerbate asthma and other breathing conditions, and off-gassing and emissions can also cause headaches, trouble concentrating, and increased absenteeism among exposed workers.

Fortunately, these health issues can be alleviated by implementing proper ventilation within the workplace.

Testing and Improving Air Quality

Creating and adhering to a routine air-quality checklist can help maintain adequate ventilation and indoor air quality within the workplace.

Check your air quality by reviewing the temperature, humidity, airflow, presence of odors, water damage, dirt, dust, and standing water throughout the building. Review contaminant-causing operations like maintenance and remodeling work, as well as changes in personnel and employee habits.

You may also want to look into different ventilation systems or check up on your existing systems:

  • Natural Ventilation: Ensure there is adequate natural ventilation throughout the workplace to remove moisture that can foster mold.
  • Mechanical Ventilation: The filtering process of HVAC systems helps to trap small particles and allergens. Electronic air filters and HEPA filters can capture small particles and contaminants, removing them from circulating air.
  • Dehumidifiers: In warmer climates, a dehumidifying ventilation system helps keep relative humidity to a reasonable level: 30% to 60%. Dehumidification is also important in cooler climates, where indoor activities can increase humidity behind closed doors, without the aid of natural ventilation.
  • Low-VOC/HAP Products: When painting, carpeting, remodeling, or using cleaners and other substances within the workplace, elect to use low-VOC and low-HAP products.

Proper ventilation is vital to good indoor air quality. Ventilation brings in fresh air, helps circulate stagnant air, and removes particulates, allergens, and pollutants, increasing the daily productivity and health of your valuable workers.

Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating today and speak to our expert team about the indoor air quality needs at your workplace.

Asthma and Academics: Why School Air Quality Matters

School Indoor Air Quality a Growing Concern

In America, the average elementary school child will spend about 940 hours inside an educational building this school year. While most of us know that poor air quality at school can contribute to health issues like asthma and allergies, fewer recognize that indoor air quality can impact our kids’ productivity, mood, and energy levels, too.

The rising concerns around indoor air quality, or IAQ, in schools are being highlighted by the increase in respiratory disease among children. Poor air quality damages both health and academic achievement. One study found that student performance can improve by 15% when ventilation rates increase.

If your child is having problems at school, the problem could be with the air they’re breathing.

The Danger of Poor IAQ

Roughly half of the schools in the U.S. have subpar air quality, according to the National Center for Education.

The following symptoms could be a sign that your child is suffering from the effects of poor indoor air quality:

  • Increased absence from school: Your child might be suffering from allergies, respiratory infections, and adverse reactions to chemical exposure that leads to illness. In the case of asthmatic children, respiratory problems lead to 14 million missed school days each year.
  • Problems with concentration: Because of higher levels of carbon dioxide and poor ventilation, many students don’t get enough oxygen into their system. This can lead to fatigue, headaches, and confusion during school. This not only damages comfort, but also a child’s ability to learn.
  • Irritation and coughing: Mold and dampness around a school facility can lead to throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, headaches, and exhaustion. These particles are detrimental to young immune systems.
  • Of course, teachers breathe the same air as students and thus can suffer the same effects, further affecting the quality of education.

What Contributes to Poor School Air Quality?

There are a range of substances that can contribute to poor school air quality, including temperature, humidity, and pollutants. Because children’s bodies are still developing, they’re particularly vulnerable to the impact of various substances, including:

  • VOCs and chemicals: Furnishings, building materials, and even common cleaning products can release dangerous particles into the air, contributing to a range of health problems.
  • Aging buildings: Many schools are quite old, and not all districts have the budget for extensive upgrades (the average school building is about 55 years old). The result is that many schools struggle with water damage, leaks, and excessive exposure to moisture, which can lead to mold, dust, and other allergens conducive to poor IAQ.
  • Poor ventilation: Inadequate HVAC systems and ventilation can result in high carbon dioxide levels and exposure to harmful airborne particles. These issues can also contribute to bacteria and mold growth.
  • Exposure to exterior pollution: Schools are also frequently exposed to diesel emissions from buses, and pollution from nearby highways.

How to Tackle Poor Indoor Air Quality at Schools

A clean and consistent supply of healthy indoor air is essential for a good classroom environment. Your children need a well-ventilated school that focuses on keeping airflow moving throughout the building, preventing air from stagnating or becoming contaminated with particles and chemicals.
Parents should speak with school administrators to ensure that HVAC systems are regularly updated and operated, and that windows are frequently opened for fresh air.

According to studies from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, increases in the rate of classroom ventilation are frequently associated with improved student performance. Improving ventilation and limiting the use of dangerous chemicals and toxins can be an important first step towards healthier students — both physically and mentally.

Additionally, cleaning the air with a purification system can help to improve the air substantially.

Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating installs and repairs air filtration systems that are built to improve air quality and remove unwanted particles. Learn more about our air filtration services.

6 Helpful Bob Jenson HVAC Articles

At Bob Jenson, we love finding new opportunities to share professional industry advice about the HVAC industry, heating, and cooling practices, so you can enjoy a more comfortable life. That’s why we not only share helpful guidance and tips on our own blog, but we write posts for a range of other great publications too!

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some of our favorite pieces published across the web, and discuss what you could learn from each one. From addressing your most crucial heating and cooling needs, to giving you an insight into how to improve your health with air quality, and reduce utility bills with energy saving tips, there’s something for everyone in this list.

1. Busting Energy Saving Myths

Green living and energy conservation have been popular concerns in recent years. Not only can learning how to effectively save energy reduce your energy bills, but it can also limit your negative impact on the environment. As new innovations and technologies emerge, becoming energy efficient is easier than ever, but it’s not always as simple to distinguish the real tips from the misunderstandings and myths.

To help separate fact from fiction, we’ve published a list of the most common energy-saving myths on Decorating Buzz, a website dedicated to providing extensive home decorating tips and advice for the average homeowner. In this article, you’ll learn everything from the difference between energy efficiency and conservation, to the truth about using your thermostat to heat your rooms more effectively.

2. Air Quality and Your Sleeping Patterns

We all know that sleep is crucial to good health. What you might not know is how your air quality could be affecting your slumber. Though we frequently blame lumpy mattresses and specific foods for sleep disturbance, the truth is that your indoor air quality could be affecting everything from the way your brain works, to how you respond to allergens.

In this article on Home Décor Expert, a publication for interior designers and home improvement enthusiasts, you’ll learn the truth about air quality’s impact on your sleep. We’ll even give you a deeper insight into the dangers of interrupted sleep, how air quality can increase your risk of sleep disorders, and what you can do to breathe a little easier at home.

3. Air Quality in the Workplace

Air quality isn’t just something to worry about at home. After all, we spend a significant portion of our waking life at work. In this blog published by Techsling, a website for digital news, resources, and exciting business information, we’ve taken a closer look at the problems with air quality in the average workplace.

In this article, you’ll learn the truth about why air quality is so important, not only to human health but to productivity too. In fact, research suggests that work performance can improve by as much as 10% with an adjustment to air quality. You’ll also discover how air quality impacts employee productivity, and what the government says about adjusting professional standards.

4. Do Smart Thermostats Save you Money?

Have you ever wanted to make your home smarter? Smart thermostats are an exciting new heating and cooling solution that potentially offers a range of benefits to homeowners, yet most people don’t understand their true value.

Another favorite Bob Jenson article published by Decorating Buzz examines whether smart thermostats can really lower your utility bills, and how you can use them in your day-to-day life. You’ll discover how the latest technology uses smart data to adjust to your preferences, and what some of the most popular options are on the market. We’ll even help you to see exactly where you can save cash with your smart thermostat, and discover whether an upgrade is really right for you.

5. How to Improve Air Quality for Asthmatics

Air quality is a concern for everyone. After all, the air we breathe can have an impact on everything from sleep quality, to productivity, and even respiratory conditions. For asthmatics however, improving air quality is crucial to ensuring a higher quality of life.

In this piece published by Share – How To, we’ve taken a closer look into the connection between asthma and air quality. Here you can learn some of the most effective ways to improve air quality for asthmatics, from using HEPA filters and dehumidifiers, to exchanging bad habits for good hobbies. Share – How To is a fantastic resource website, filled with useful how-to guides on everything from education, to health and home improvement.

6. Poor Indoor Air Quality Cause and Effect

How much do you really know about poor indoor air quality, and its cause and effect? Many people assume that the air they breathe is clean, but the truth is that it’s hard to identify the polluted particles that pervade our every breath.

In this article published by Decorating Buzz, we’ve offered a comprehensive look into the truth about poor air quality in today’s world. You will learn everything you need to know about what causes poor indoor quality, the most common sources of air pollution, and the dangerous effects of contaminated indoor air. We’ve even covered some quick and simple tips on how to improve air quality.

Those are just some of our favorite Bob Jenson pieces from around the web. Why not check them out to learn more about heating and cooling, air quality, and how to save energy in your home?

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