Indoor Air Quality Problems May Make Pollen-Laden Outside Air Look Good

As high pollen counts brought on by unusually heavy rainfall in 2007 wreak havoc with North Texas allergy sufferers, experts warn indoor air quality may pose even greater discomfort and health risks.

Southlake, TX – Nov. 5, 2007 – When the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released its 2007 list of worst cities for fall allergy sufferers, people in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex were not surprised to find they made the top 10 – again.

But many would be surprised to find the air quality in their homes is far worse than anything Mother Nature throws their way outside. The Environmental Protection Agency says “…air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.” (Source:

The EPA also cites research that says most people spend 90 percent of their time inside, which makes indoor air quality far more critical than outside air. Pollutants circulating in the air inside homes may do more than make itchy eyes and running noses, however.

Indoor air quality expert Jamie Wooldridge, president of Berkey’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., says better-built new homes are part of the problem. “Homes today are built tight to keep heated or cooled air inside for better energy efficiency, but that also keeps fresh air out,” Wooldridge said. “Without adequate air circulation, pollutants build up over time, which leads to poor air indoor air quality that can make people less healthy and less comfortable.”

Wooldridge, an allergy sufferer himself, says children often are the most affected by poor air quality because their systems are more delicate. Medical experts cite a number of factors regarding asthma in children, including air quality, Wooldridge said.

The first step toward improving indoor air quality is to be aware a problem may exist. “Most often, people aren’t aware they have a problem until it becomes serious,” Wooldridge said. He recommends an indoor air quality check by professionals for those who experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, sore or scratchy throat, nasal irritation, coughing, fatigue red or watering eyes.

“Often, you can’t detect bad air quality because everything we do in our daily lives may add to the problem – cooking and cleaning, for example,” Wooldridge said. “But wall paint, furniture and pets add to the mix, as do carbon monoxide from any combustion and possibly radon from granite counter tops.”

Wooldridge said the best way to assess indoor air quality is through an inexpensive third party test that uses special sensors to detect and record levels of all known types of indoor air contaminants. A heating and air conditioning professional places a small devise in the home for a few days, then provides a detailed analysis.

Wooldridge cautions that poor indoor air quality may cause discomfort, but it also can be a serious health threat. “The good news is that once a problem is diagnosed it can be regulated and dramatically improved in most homes.”

“Today’s best whole-house air filtration systems can be added to existing HVAC equipment to remove 99.98 percent of all airborne allergens,” Wooldridge said. “That’s 100 times better than ionic room devices and the paper filters used in most homes. Many people are able to get off allergy medications altogether.”

About Berkey’s

Berkey’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning has specialized in the needs of homeowners in Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Flower Mound for more than 32 years. Berkey’s reputation for prompt, honest service from licensed and factory trained technicians assures customers the best in professional service and equipment. To learn more, call Berkey’s at 1-877-BERKEYS, or visit our Website at