Pollutants That Can Damage Your Indoor Air Quality

Do you suspect that something’s wrong with the air quality in your home? There are a few types of pollutants that could be floating around in your air.

Your home should be a welcome respite from the various pollutants and allergens floating about in the world, not a leading source of them. Do you have difficulty breathing easily at home, or are your allergies always acting up indoors? Your indoor air quality could be damaged by a host of common pollutants that either make their way inside or originate there.

Learn more about the basic pollutant categories that contribute to poor indoor air quality. When you know what’s wrong with the air in your home, you can take thorough steps to combat the problem.

Combustion Sources

Are there any regular sources of smoke in your home? Perhaps you cook on a wood-burning stove or enjoy toasty fires in your fireplace. Or maybe you live with somebody who smokes cigarettes indoors.

Smoke is a common irritant, and regularly producing smoke in your home will worsen your health over time. Consider switching to an electric stove or asking your loved one to keep their cigarette smoking confined to the patio outdoors.

Hazardous Gases

Gas leaks in the home aren’t just a minor irritant—they’re a major danger to your health and safety. Understanding the principles of indoor air quality also involves the ability to identify these major hazards, often with the help of detectors and regular HVAC maintenance.

Dangerous gases to watch for in the home include, but are not limited to:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Radon gas
  • Formaldehyde
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

Good To Know:

Formaldehyde gas and VOCs are common by-products of many chemical cleaners and solvents. Read the labels on any cleaners you plan to buy before using them in your home.

Organic Materials

Even if the air in your home looks clean, various organic particles like pollen and mold spores can cause troubling respiratory symptoms, especially in individuals with allergies.

In addition, living in a home with poor air quality can make it easier to pick up bacterial or viral infections, as those particles are invisible to the naked eye. Replacing your HVAC filters every 90 days can help reduce the concentration of these particles in the air. If you or anyone in your household has severe allergies, a HEPA filter can clean the air more thoroughly.

Artificial Fragrances

Do you often spray aerosol fresheners around your home to make it smell pleasant? What about perfumes or scented bath products? While many individuals experience no immediate side effects from synthetic fragrances, others can’t be in the same room as a fragranced product without having an allergic reaction.

Even if you don’t feel unpleasant after handling synthetic fragrances, you should know that they are common sources of the volatile organic compounds discussed above. Be mindful of the amount of fragrance you spray in your home, and stop using them if you do notice any adverse health effects.

Maintain a safe and healthy environment in your home by remaining aware of pollutants that can harm your indoor air quality. Read the labels on your cleaning products, check your carbon monoxide detectors regularly, and take mitigative action if something in your home is harming your health.


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