common indoor air pollutants

Common Indoor Air Pollutants and How to Eliminate Them in Bellaire, TX

As a homeowner, there are quite a few common indoor air pollutants you need to be aware of. As a society, we're spending more and more time indoors, whether it's at home or at the office. This isn't going to change any time soon, so it's best to find out what hidden dangers there might be.

The concentrations of these pollutants can be 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Meaning, we're much more likely to breathe these pollutants in. In turn, it's more likely that you'll be negatively affected by them.

So, keep reading to find out more about these air pollutants and how to eliminate them from your home.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Unfortunately, indoor air pollutants can't be seen with the naked eye. It's sometimes possible to spot the source of the pollutants, but that isn't always the case. Most people also don't look for sources of pollutants unless they know they have a problem.

Inadequate Ventilation

Proper ventilation is key if you want to reduce the concentration of air pollutants in your home. Air pollutants are all around us, but these pollutants accumulate at dangerous levels without ventilation.

Proper ventilation is also needed to prevent the buildup of excess moisture. This buildup can lead to the growth of mold

Mold is unsightly and can make your home appear dirty, but the true danger lies in the toxins it releases. Mold can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Mild to severe allergies
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe respiratory issues
  • Aspergillosis

Building Materials

Usually, when people think of indoor air pollutants, they picture:

  • Mold
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Smoke
  • Dust mites

While these pollutants are all problematic, many people don't realize their house itself could be a pollutant. Asbestos is one of the main causes of indoor air pollution, even though it has been banned in the US since 1989.

Asbestos was used in insulation, fireproofing materials, and even flooring materials. This is why many people are cautioned when renovating an older home. Most houses with materials containing asbestos are safe if they aren't tampered with, but even a small crack in a pipe can cause asbestos fibers to filter through.

Asbestos fibers can get stuck in your lungs and stay there for an extremely long time. These fibers irritate your lungs and can cause scarring and inflammation of the lungs. The scarring, in turn, can lead to:

  • Asbestosis
  • Cancer of the lining of the chest or abdomen

Stoves and Heaters

Burning coal, wood, or natural gas can all add to indoor air pollution. When these materials are burned, they release harmful chemicals. Some of these chemicals include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter

The smoke from these stoves and heaters can also contain other harmful gasses. The danger with smoke is it can help the gasses penetrate deep into the lungs.

If there isn't proper ventilation, then these gasses and smoke can build up inside your home. Dust can also be released into the air if these devices aren't cleaned regularly.

HVAC System Maintenance

One of the best ways to combat air pollutants is by focusing on increasing your indoor air quality. This can be done through regular HVAC system maintenance.

Most homes and buildings are built in a way to help reduce energy consumption. By sealing a building tightly, less energy is needed to cool and heat the air, but this means less fresh air comes in unless you explicitly open a window. Even with windows open, chances are there are parts of your home that won't be affected by this airflow.

Less fresh air throughout the home means indoor air quality drops. This is where mechanical ventilation and air filters come into play. 

Mechanical ventilation introduces fresh air into homes and offices while also reducing accumulated contaminants. Air filters are also used to catch contaminants and help keep the air fresh and clean.

Scheduling regular maintenance and cleaning services for your HVAC system means any accumulated contaminants can get cleared out instead of pushed back into your home. Regular maintenance also ensures your HVAC system is in tip-top condition, meaning you're less likely to have to shell out for costly repairs later on.

Indoor Air Quality Sensors

If you're worried that the concentration of indoor air pollutants could be dangerous, then you should consider installing air quality sensors. There are various sensors available that measure different common pollutants or a combination of them. These sensors give you a way to understand the current condition and measure the effectiveness of any improvements you make.

These sensors might not be a solution to your problem, but since you can't see the pollutants, the sensors are your eyes and ears. 

Reduce Sources of Indoor Pollution

There are some air pollutants that you simply can't get around. So, it's important to know how to reduce the source if you can't remove it. If you're trying to improve your air quality, then you need to consider what habits you have that might be harmful. 

If you're a smoker, make sure to only smoke in outdoor areas, far away from any doors or windows. Similarly, reduce the amount of strongly scented products, like air fresheners, you use. 

Make sure you're outside in the fresh air when using high-emitting products like paint, glue, caulk, or incense. If you can't be outside when using them, then you have to make sure that you increase the ventilation as much as possible.

Eliminate Common Indoor Air Pollutants

When it comes to common indoor air pollutants, you can't avoid them all, but you can reduce the concentration you're exposed to. Simple actions like regularly cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system can drastically improve indoor air quality. So don't wait for a scare like carbon monoxide poisoning-act now to keep everyone safe.

Get started on your journey to cleaner air today by scheduling a visit from one of our skilled technicians. P & M Air Conditioning and Heating has been servicing the Greater Houston, TX area for over 65 years.

5 Benefits of Indoor Air Quality

According to the EPA, indoor air quality is a much greater concern than the average household realizes. It can be up to 100 times more harmful than outdoor air quality if you don’t take steps to protect the air inside your home. P & M Air Conditioning and Heating wants you to know the five benefits you can enjoy by improving indoor air quality in your home, such as these:

1. Better Health for You and Your Family
Perhaps the biggest benefit of improving indoor air quality for the average household involves the health of the people living there. Improving indoor air quality can have a remarkable effect on health by reducing coughing, sneezing, eye irritations, headaches, and other respiratory concerns.

2. Fewer Allergies and Asthma Attacks
While this could qualify as health, it deserved a category of its own. Indoor air quality specifically involves allergens known to cause allergies in many and trigger asthma attacks in those prone to suffer them. Common allergens associated with poor indoor air quality include:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Pet Dander
  • Dust Mites
  • Smoke

The problem is that once they find their way into your home, they have a nasty habit of lingering unless you take active steps to improve indoor air quality.

3. Better Fragrance
The things the stick around in the air inside your home and ruin the quality of the air, are also things that often have odors to them. Improving indoor air quality, as a happy side effect, also clears the air inside your home of these unpleasant odors.

It also helps to rid your home of other odors, like the food you cooked last night, your pet’s favorite blanket, and your teenager’s soccer cleats. It does all this without adding new odors into the mix, which is what happens when you use artificial sprays and such to attempt to mask the odors in your home.

4. Reduce Energy Costs
Once you improve the air quality inside your home, you’ll notice yet another unexpected and certainly welcome side effect: lower energy costs. Your HVAC system operates more efficiently when it isn’t having to push through years of debris, dust, mold, and allergens to get the cool or warm air to its intended locations. This saves you money.

5. Less Static Shock
An effective air quality system also helps to balance the moisture in your home. This eliminates mold and mildew that arise when there is too much moisture and static shock and dry skin that result when there is too little moisture in the air.

P & M Air Conditioning and Heating understands the unique challenges Houston homeowners face when it comes to air quality, heating, and cooling concerns. Call us today to learn more about our air quality services and how we can help your family breathe easier inside your home.