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.