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Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution and How to Address Them

Often, when the subject of indoor air quality comes up, people think about office buildings or factories. However, air pollution can affect buildings of all types including apartments, townhouses, and single-family dwellings. Poor indoor air quality can lead to a range of health problems and it can make your home quite uncomfortable. Some of the effects may be experienced soon after exposure but some can affect individuals years later.

Knowing the main sources of pollution can help you make your home as safe as possible. These sources release particles or gases into the air. If your home isn’t adequately ventilated, the pollution can be even worse. There won’t be enough fresh air to dilute the indoor emissions or carry them out of the home. High temperatures and high humidity can also increase the levels of pollutants in your home. While there’s a lot you can do on your own to improve your home’s air quality, you should reach out to an HVAC professional for an expert assessment.

Types of Indoor Air Pollutants

It may be surprising, but many of the things you use daily can cause pollution. These include:

Cleaning Products

Everyone wants their home to look and smell clean. However, many cleaning products contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC).  Air fresheners, chlorine bleach, upholstery cleaners, furniture polish, oven cleaners, and other scented products can all include harmful ingredients. It’s best to use natural products like baking soda and vinegar.

Paint

Many homeowners have half-empty paint cans lying around. If you’re in the midst of renovations, this is especially likely. While it may be convenient to keep paint in your garage or home, it could be giving off harmful gases. To reduce the level of air pollution, store paint away from your home or use low VOC options.

Dry Cleaning

Yes, even your dry cleaning can impact the air quality in your home. Dry-cleaned clothing can release residual perchloroethylene. This is a carcinogenic VOC. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, you should only dry clean clothing that actually requires it. Check your labels since you may be able to handwash some of your garments.

Air Fresheners

More than 100 chemicals could be in your favorite air freshener. These can lead to migraines, asthma attacks, and breathing issues. If you want to keep the air in your home fresh, it’s best to improve the circulation of air by using a fan or opening a window.

Candles

Candles help to create a pleasant ambiance and they smell good. However, they also give off ultra-fine particles that have been linked to lung inflammation. If you must have your candles, choose those made from beeswax. 

Tobacco Smoke

If someone smokes indoors, nicotine will settle on clothing, books, soft furnishings, and other items. Everyone in the household will be vulnerable to respiratory problems since smoke is a pollutant. Smokers should go outdoors where there’s good airflow.

Biological Agents

Not all sources of air pollution are artificial or things you brought into your home. If you have pets, their hair or dander can contribute to poor air quality. Mold, pollen, and other naturally occurring things can also lead to respiratory problems.

Exhaust

You may think the exhaust is only a concern when you’re outdoors among vehicles. However, this isn’t the case. Stoves, fireplaces, and furnaces that aren’t properly ventilated can result in soot and carbon monoxide building up indoors.

How to Combat Indoor Air Pollutants

There are things you can do to improve the quality of the air in your home. For example, you need to replace the air filters in your HVAC system. These filters are designed to capture most common indoor pollutants, but you need to replace them often. If you don’t, they won’t do their job properly. This can affect your family’s health and damage your heating and cooling equipment.

Opening your windows for at least 15 minutes every day will let in the fresh air and help to get pollutants out of your house. To truly keep indoor air pollutants at a minimum, you should also have an efficient ventilation system. Controlling humidity in your house or apartment can also make a big difference. A humidifier or dehumidifier can be used to create humidity levels for your space. This will help to prevent mold and mildew. Your local HVAC contractor can help you find the appropriate solution for your home. 

Contact the Professionals at C&L Services to Discuss Your Indoor Air Quality Needs

The quality of the air you breathe is of the utmost importance. Let the HVAC professionals at C&L Services help you to make your home as healthy and comfortable as possible. We repair, replace and maintain HVAC systems and we have a variety of solutions for adjusting the temperature and humidity in your home. Contact us today to learn more.

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