Everyone wants to have a clean home, especially when it comes to indoor air. Pollutants, unfortunately, can cause a wide range of problems. According to the EPA, there are plenty of indoor air pollutants. Many of them fall into four categories: combustion by-products, biological contaminants, VOCs and legacy pollutants. In any case, you never want to breathe in these irritants. If you’re concerned about your home, you need to watch out for these common air pollutants.
Asbestos occurs naturally in the soil, and it is considered a mineral fiber. Since it is heat resistant, it is often used in construction products, such as roofing shingles and insulation. At one time, asbestos was used as a fire retardant. You can even find asbestos in cars. However, it is known to cause significant health problems, including mesothelioma, lung disease and asbestosis. As a result, many countries have banned the distribution of products containing this fiber.
Any contaminant that is produced by a living thing is considered a biological pollutant. These pollutants include viruses, bacteria, pet dander, dust, pollen and mites. You can often find these pollutants in places with excessive moisture, such as an unvented bathroom. Any spots with excessive moisture are a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew.
Some household products and building materials contain formaldehyde. If you use glue, cosmetics, paints or pesticides around your home, you might be exposed to formaldehyde. This chemical compound is a combustion by-product, and it is often emitted from fuel-burning appliances. High exposure to formaldehyde can lead to death. However, even a small amount of exposure can cause throat, nose, skin and eye irritation.
When fossil fuels are burned, carbon monoxide (CO) is released into the air. In your home, you might want to monitor gas heaters and kerosene lamps for any excessive amounts of CO. When carbon monoxide is inhaled in large quantities, it can affect the oxygen in your blood. As a result, reduced oxygen is delivered to your critical organs. Carbon monoxide causes dizziness and unconsciousness. In some severe cases, it can be deadly. CO is commonly found in enclosed places with poor ventilation.
Stoves and Heaters
If you burn wood or charcoal in a building, it can reduce your indoor air quality. Some people use wood-burning stoves for cooking food. However, it can lead to problems in the air. When combined with poor ventilation, the smoke and fumes can create substantial lung and health issues.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is another pollutant that comes from burning fuel. If you have a pre-existing respiratory condition, exposure to this pollutant can cause difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. Over time, exposure increases your chances of respiratory infections.
Lead can find its way into your home from various sources. If you burn leaded fuel, such as gasoline, you might introduce some lead emissions in your home. Lead inhalation can create issues with your cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. Children are also susceptible to lead inhalation problems, and it can cause behavioral and learning difficulties.
If you use pesticides to control rodents, pests or insects, it can increase your exposure to these pollutants. All pesticides are toxic, and you need to limit your time around these chemicals. Pesticides can even be found in disinfectants. In some cases, exposure can result in eye, nose, throat and skin irritations. You might even increase your risk of damage to the central nervous system.
Indoor Particulate Matter
Particulate matter is also known as particle pollution. These pollutants mix with solid particles in the air to cause health issues. Dust, sand, smoke and dirt are large enough to be seen by the human eye. However, some small particles can only be viewed through a microscope. Some particulate matter is the result of a complex chemical reaction from other pollutants. Any prolonged exposure can lead to irregular heartbeats, respiratory issues and asthma. For those with pre-existing health issues, you have a greater risk of experiencing adverse reactions to these particulate particles. If you’re worried about air quality in your home, you might want to schedule an indoor air quality test. With these tests, you can find out if there are dangerous pollution levels in your home.
Radon is a dangerous radioactive gas. It has no color, smell or taste. Without conducting a test, it can be tough to detect this gas in your home. When radon becomes trapped inside a building, it causes significant health issues. Long-term radon exposure increases your chances of developing lung cancer. If you’re concerned about the radon levels in your home, you need to have a professional test your air. Any high levels can be corrected by increasing the airflow in your home or improving your ventilation.
Cigarettes and cigars are the biggest causes of secondhand smoke. This type of pollutant might also be known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). When tobacco products are burned, they release pollutants into the air. Secondhand smoke is a carcinogen. There are over 7,000 toxic chemicals released into the air when the products are burned. These pollutants are incredibly hazardous to your health. Exposure to these chemicals leads to stroke, lung cancer, heart disease, asthma attacks and respiratory issues.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases that are emitted from liquids and solids. You can find plenty of products in your home with these compounds. Aerosol sprays, paints, wood preserves, cleaners, air fresheners and pesticides all contain these harmful compounds. When you’re exposed to VOCs, you can suffer from several issues. Some of the significant health effects include headaches, throat irritation and damage to your major organs. If the exposure levels are high, there is the potential for death.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you are putting yourself at risk for smoke inhalation. When wood is burned, the smoke contains fine microscopic particles and gases. Particulate matter is the main irritant found in the smoke. Despite all the risks, many people still use wood in their fireplaces. For those homes without the proper ventilation, you might release harmful smoke into your indoor spaces. You can do a few things to reduce your risk of smoke exposure. Make sure that all your air ducts are inspected to maintain healthy airflow.
Keep Yourself Safe
With all these common pollutants in your home, you will want to keep your home safe. You can purchase air filters to remove any fine particle pollutants. If you’re concerned about other types of irritants, you might want to invest in an air purifier. However, your first step should be scheduling an indoor test of your air. With a test, you will know the exact levels of any pollutants in your home. You can find ways to remove them for cleaner and healthier air.
Let Us Help With Your Ducts
If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your home, reach out to the experts at Reliable Ducts Heating and Cooling in Jacksonville, FL. We are a family-owned and -operated business with extensive experience in heating and cooling. Our company carries a wide range of products, including the Trane and Carrier brands. In addition to air quality tests, we can help with heating and cooling repairs, installation and maintenance services. When you need a home quality service in Jacksonville, contact the professional team at Reliable Ducts Heating and Cooling.