Working as a home-based blogger can be a rewarding experience. You have more time flexibility and can avoid many of the hassles involved with commuting to a daily office job.
While working from home offers some attractive perks, it also comes with unexpected challenges, such as managing indoor air quality (IAQ). We often think of air pollution as an outside issue, but in reality, the air inside our homes and offices can be more polluted than outdoor air. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to four percent of the global burden of disease is due to indoor air pollution.
Indoor air pollutants include mold, bacteria, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and harmful fumes. In the short term, a build-up of these pollutants can cause irritated and dry mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and throat. It also can cause dizziness, fatigue, fever, forgetfulness, irritability, lethargy and nausea.
Identifying the culprits
Although there is no single test to identify an IAQ problem, there are some basic factors to consider. Start by checking measurements of temperature, humidity, and air flow. Inspect and test the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and perform a walk-through to check for odors, water damage, and leaks.
The most common causes of IAQ problems in the home include inadequate ventilation, as most ventilation systems are designed to bring in very little outdoor air. Poor HVAC system upkeep is also an issue, but a well-maintained air conditioner controls your workplace temperature and reduces moisture buildup. Dampness, leaks and high humidity can lead to mold growth, while hazardous airborne particulates can come from dust, dirt, and building materials.
Image via Flickr by galliaoffri
Implementing the remedy
Work-at-home bloggers can help improve indoor air quality by performing some simple housekeeping tasks.
Airborne particulates can come from dirt and dust that is tracked in from outdoors. These particles can trigger allergies and other respiratory problems. To combat this problem, consider installing walk-off mats at doorways and changing furnace filters regularly.
For healthy indoor air, keep your indoor humidity below 50 percent during more humid months, and above 30 percent during the low humidity months. You can also install a standalone dehumidifier or integrate a unit into your HVAC system.
Open windows and doors to bring in fresh air year round. Another solution for stale air is to install an energy recovery ventilator. These devices are particularly well-suited for hot and humid summers. Consult an HVAC technician to see if a ventilator would be an effective solution for your home.
Your air conditioner is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can use to improve your home’s IAQ. Keeping it well maintained can help control workspace temperature, reduce moisture buildup, and filter airborne allergens. Change or clean your air ducts and air conditioning filter regularly, and even more often if you have pets in your home.
Consider installing an ultraviolet (UV) lamp to your HVAC system. A special UV lamp kills bacteria and mold that grow in damp environments. Consult with a qualified HVAC technician for installation and service options.
Although serious health problems related to IAQ are rare, the quality of indoor air can profoundly affect your health, comfort, and productivity.