Indoor Air Quality
The buildings we live in affect our health in many ways. Research has linked adverse health impacts to characteristics of the building environment, including the presence of moisture, airborne volatile organic compounds, allergens, particulates, radon and combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Below is information on how you can keep your indoor air quality healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I address condensation on my windows? Are energy-efficient windows a good idea?
- How dangerous is mold?
- Will cleaning the inside of my heating and air conditioning ducts improve the air in my house and save energy?
- How much can I save by covering electric outlets and sealing holes in walls around outdoor faucets and wiring?
- How much will I save by changing the filter for my central air conditioner every month? What other benefits does it have?
- Is it a good idea to get a device that attaches to the dryer vent, collects lint and directs air into the house instead of outside?
- How important are carbon monoxide alarms in homes that are all-electric?
- Is it OK to heat my home with a kerosene space heater if my furnace isn’t working?
- How do I keep smells, smoke and steam from building up while I cook?
- What are the differences between the various types of HVAC filters available?
- EPA Indoor Air Quality in Homes – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency page about indoor air quality that has a FAQ section, and links to resources and webinars.
- BPI – Home Performance Resources – The Building Performance Institute Inc. website contains a FAQ section, videos, articles, available incentives, how to find a contractor, and more.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development webpage about energy efficiency and indoor air quality contains background information, links for how to test for air quality, improvement strategies, and other topics to consider.
- National Center for Healthy Housing – This nonprofit’s website is dedicated to securing healthy homes for all. It has many resources for making homes safer and healthier.
- NC State Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Program – NC State’s Family and Consumer Sciences Program website provides information about housing and energy. It also discusses different programs and includes a variety of resources about home energy and living.
- EPA Mold – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency webpage about mold. It has basic information and links to a variety of resources
- The Community Guide – Website has videos on many topics.
Additional Advanced Energy at Home Topics
Many homes built on crawl space foundations in the Southeast suffer from poor moisture management. Symptoms are commonly noticed in the humid spring and summer seasons but can occur any time of year. Occupants typically call a heating and cooling contractor to address the problem, but it is often the result of poor moisture control in the crawl space.
We are surrounded by moisture. There’s rain from above, water from below, humidity, household moisture generated from breathing, plants and cooking, and more. However, we do have control over a few key areas: where and how our homes experience moisture from the outside and the inside, and the choice of materials used at these locations.
Incorporating New Technologies
We continue to add new technologies to our homes to make our lives more efficient, convenient, affordable, customizable and environmentally friendly. Sometimes these devices and appliances can be overwhelming, but there are a number of ways we can make them work for us and meet our goals and needs.
Saving Money Through Energy Efficiency
We all use energy in one form or another in our homes, whether electricity, gas, kerosene or even oil. Ideally, this energy usage is not an expensive shock when each month’s utility bill arrives. However, keeping track of the growing number of devices that plug in, on top of our existing appliances and electronics, can be dizzying. Fortunately, there are a number of ways – both simple and more advanced – that we can work to lower our utility bills and improve our energy efficiency.