Indoor air pollutants come from a variety of sources such as the burning of fuel, cleaning products, excess moisture, outdoor sources, building materials, and furnishing, and others. Improvement of indoor air quality (IAQ) should be a priority to keep your family safe.
For most people, the mention of air pollution conjures images of industries spewing harmful products, cars exhaust, and toxic gases from burning landfills. However, a report by the (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency necessitates a rethink on the idea of pollution. The EPA says indoor spaces could be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor spaces. If you thought your home is a refuge against pollution, you’re wrong.
To improve indoor air, first, identify the pollutants you’re dealing with. Here are some of these common indoor pollutants.
Biological pollutants originate from living organisms including plants and animals, and most are small enough to be inhaled. These pollutants include bacteria, viruses, house dust, mites, and pollen, animal dander and cat saliva, cockroaches, dried rodent urine, Mildew spores, and hyphae.
The pollutants exist in areas that provide good habitats for living organisms, food, and moisture or water. Such areas include mist surfaces, carpets, garments, beddings, humidifiers, and others. Most biological pollutants are potent allergens and cause a host of respiratory conditions.
Radon is a radioactive element that seeps from the soil into your home. It’s one of the often overlooked indoor air pollutants because it is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, invisible gas. The poisonous gas can leak into your house through exterior ventilation, warm air rising, walls and floors, piping, fireplaces, furnaces, and concrete joints.
The risks of radon range from lung cancer among non-smokers, and for this reason, invest in an air cleansing system that can block radon gas particles.
Stoves and heaters, furnaces, chimneys are all sources of harmful products produced when fuels burn. Wood and natural gas are common sources of fuel in American homes and they produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, water vapor, and particulate matter.
These pollutants can cause respiratory health problems and you need to monitor them and remove them from your indoor air.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Common home products such as flooring, carpets, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, painted walls, pesticides upholstery, curtains, and wood furniture produce harmful products known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
These have short- and long-term adverse health effects such as eye irritation, headaches, liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage. Formaldehyde is one of the best-known VOCs, and you can measure it and remove it using an efficient AC system.
Secondhand Smoke/Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)
If there’s a smoker in your house, the indoor air most likely has pollutants, compounds, and chemicals from the tobacco. Secondhand smoke contains is a Group A carcinogen with over 7,000 substances. These pollutants can cause lung cancer, allergies, breathing complications, risk of heart disease, and other health risks.
Besides these common indoor air pollutants, look out for other harmful elements in indoor air such as Nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulates, Carbon Monoxide (CO), and excess moisture.
A good HVAC unit can monitor, alert you, and remove these pollutants. Talk to your HVAC contractor to identify the most efficient HVAC system to eliminate the widest range of pollutants from your home.