What Is Sick Home Syndrome?

Are You Wondering if Your Home or Office Is Making You Sick?

“Sick Home Syndrome” is a phrase that describes situations in which a structure’s occupants experience acute, adverse health effects and/or discomfort that appear to be linked to spending time within the structure and have no specific link to an illness, can be caused by poor air quality often linked to little or no ventilation. Symptoms can include respiratory ailments, asthma, sinus infections, rash, dizziness, headache, nausea, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, fatigue and others.

It’s common for several building occupants to report varying symptoms which may seem unrelated at first. For example, many experience runny, itchy eyes, headaches, etc. when spending time in their basement and in most cases, the symptoms diminish soon after the individual leaves a specific room or building. However, in some cases, particularly in sensitive individuals, in children and elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, there can be lingering health effects.

What causes of Sick Home Syndrome?

Causes of Sick Home Syndrome can be attributed to both interior and exterior chemical and biological contaminants. According to the EPA, a major contributing factors is inadequate ventilation, a common side effect from our ‘modern’ building and construction practices that favor tightly sealed, energy-efficient strategies for homes and buildings. In short, our homes don’t breathe any more.

Biological contaminants such as bacteria, pollen and molds can be found throughout a home, especially in damp places where stagnant water has puddled in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans, or where moisture has been absorbed on ceiling tiles, carpeting or insulation.

Mold is naturally occurring and easily enters a home in various ways like on our clothing and pets, through our vents and doors, and on organic material we introduce into our homes. While visible mold is an obvious reason for concern, mold and fungal growth also occur in hidden spaces under carpeting, behind wall boards, insulation and paneling. “Toxic molds” have been linked to large variety of illnesses in recent years which can cause serious health problems.

What you can do to help?

If you suspect that your home/building is making you sick there are some things you can to do help improve the indoor environment. The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommend two major strategies to battle “Sick Home Syndrome”,

  1. Source Control – Eliminate any source of contamination or pollution. Dry out damp spaces, fix leaky pipes, remove any source of artificial fragrance (high levels of volatile chemicals), replace cleaning products with non-toxic varieties, do not allow smoking inside the home, clean and dust regularly, use vacuum with HEPA filter.
  2. Ventilate – Increase the amount of outdoor air entering the building envelope. “Solution by Dilution”, ventilation systems can significantly improve a home’s air quality by decreasing the level of contaminants in the air. Reducing the concentration of allergens, pollutants, moisture, mold spores, viral loads, dust particles, etc. with a mechanical ventilation will result in much healthier indoor air environment.

How we can help?

Don’t take chances with your indoor air quality. Call the experts at EZ Breathe Ventilation Systems at (866) 822-7328 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.