Understanding Indoor Air Quality: Issues and Prevention

Indoor Air Quality

Mold growth, structural damage, and property loss are the well-attended concerns after a home was hit with water damage. Indoor air quality becomes the least of their concern, probably because it is not visible to our naked eyes. However, in reality, this invisible problem could be the cause of health hazards in a home.

Just like structural damage, indoor air quality problems should also be addressed to have a healthy and liveable home.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality or known as IAQ refers to the quality of air within or around the home or a workplace. The term itself doesn’t only explain the specific environment of a structure. It also explains the several factors which include; natural contaminants such as bacteria and mold, comfort issues like poor ventilation, changing temperature, too high or too low humidity and man-made pollutants such as burning oil, coil and so on.

To conserve energy, homes today are built with stricter standards of air-tightness, which keeps outdoor air to infiltrate inside the structure. Nowadays, people tend to spend more time in those enclosed structures. That is the reason why indoor air quality has an increasing impact on the health condition and well-being of a person.

With that said, keeping healthy indoor air is very vital. Thus, proper cleanup after any type of water damage has to be done properly. 

Indoor Air Problems after Water Damage

Indoor air problems after water damage may be the least of your concern. But, failure to address problems of contaminated materials and high moisture and humidity area can be hazardous to your health and your family as well.

Floodwater contains a variety of dangerous substances such as pathogens, bacteria, microbes, and other contaminants. Contamination can release airborne viruses that, if inhaled, can cause congestion, throat infection or a lung infection. Flooding can also contain solvents, ammonia, pesticides and other man-made chemicals that can release toxic fumes.

Standing water and wet materials are a perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Mold can start growing and release mold spores in just about 24 to 48 hours. Within the enclosed home and perfect condition (with high-level humidity, food source, and darkness), mold spores can quickly spread and raise its level of toxic when inhaled. Other microbes, such as dust mites and pollens can also grow in a wet or damp environment and could cause airborne allergens. 

How to Avoid Indoor Air Problems

Time is the essence when dealing with the aftermath of water damage. The longer the water sits in your home, the more microbes and allergens can grow and spread causing hazards to the occupants.

 

  • Remove Standing Water

 

Keep in mind that standing water is a perfect breeding ground for common microorganisms such as mold and dust mites, which can become airborne and pollutant. Sensitive individuals are more prone to allergic reactions to these microbes.

If you are handy, use a shop vac to completely remove the standing water. But, if you don’t have any tools to use, you may use an old towel and a bucket to remove the water.

Removing standing water as quickly as possible can prevent you from being harmed and can lessen structural damage.

 

  • Dry out your home

 

The drying process could take several days or even a week. But doing this is vital for having healthy indoor air.

Use a dehumidifier or ordinary electric fans to dry out your home. If the weather permits, or if it is not too humid, open the doors and windows to allow air circulation.

 

  • Discard Unsalvageable Items

 

It is truly difficult to abolish items in a home, especially those with sentimental value. But keeping these items that were soaked by water can greatly influence the indoor air quality of your home. Some materials that are damp and can hardly sanitize and dried can be a perfect place for mold growth.   

 

  • Clean and Sanitize Your Home

 

Thorough cleaning and sanitizing are one of the keys to healthy indoor air quality. You should wash and disinfect floors, wall, shelves, closets and other contents of the house. It is also suggested by the FEMA to disinfect and sanitize ductwork that was affected by water damage.

Be cautious when using disinfectants and sanitizers as they contain toxic substances. Check the label and follow the correct procedures.

 

  • Address the Source of the Problem

 

Fixing the leaky pipes, repairing or replacing broken appliances or installing a dehumidifier might be some of the things you need to do to address the source of the problem.

 

When water damage hits your home, it is best to leave it to certified professionals. Square One Restoration professionals guarantee complete water damage removal and restoration and mold remediation services to ensure the indoor air quality of your home. They respond and act fast to control and eliminate contamination. Dealing with water damage now? Contact Square One today.

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