What are the most common indoor air pollutants?
Everywhere, there are airborne pollutants floating around and families are exposed even in their own homes. But what are these pollutants and how worried should someone be about them? More importantly, where are they?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollutants are five times more concentrated than outside. With low air circulation and confined spaces, it makes sense that indoor air can be filled with hazards. Considering that the average American family spends a large part of their time indoors, this is a major health concern. Fortunately, there are many things homeowners and businesses can do in order to guarantee safer air quality indoors. From simple to cutting edge methodology and tech – indoor air can be safer and healthier than that outside. Let’s take a closer look at the culprits that pose a threat to our health.
Straight from the Environmental Protection Agency, we know radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. This gas has been linked to causing health problems such as lung cancer and more. Radon is an inert, colorless, and odorless gas that occurs naturally within our atmosphere. So if it’s naturally occurring from the outdoors, why should we worry? Well, radon is inert, meaning that it will not rise or fall on its own. Therefore, radon can find its way into our homes and ultimately get trapped there. It enters buildings through cracks and holes in the foundation. This is why most serious exposure to radon occurs in homes, schools, and workplaces. Homeowners and businesses can take control over this threat by implementing sensible and cost-effective solutions to their spaces. This includes dedicated exhaust systems that pump air out of the building or even having high-efficiency HVAC systems cycle air within a home. While radon sounds terrifying, it can be easily addressed.
We know combustion products as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, wood smoke, and water vapor. These should be very well-known air pollutants to homeowners as they pose a significant threat to health and safety. Combustion by-products are typically produced by gas-fired appliances like ovens, stoves, water heaters, furnaces, and dryers. The appliances emit pollutants and then they slowly travel throughout spaces. If there is no circulation of air, these products can concentrate creating a dangerous breathing environment. Ultimately, the best solution is ensuring all of this combustion product emitting sources are in well-ventilated areas. The EPA also suggests this solution which is why a licensed HVAC technician will be able to help you ensure your spaces are well circulated with clean air.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile Organic Compounds in this regard are items that emit heavy fumes and odors that can be harmful to breathe, especially in closed spaces. Paints, fuels, dry cleaning agents, water-based cleaning agents, and more are all in this category. Our trusty source, the Environmental Protection Agency states that “Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long term health effects”. To summarize, any of those household chemicals you find lying around the house are most likely VOCs. It is important to tightly seal and store those VOCs in a cool/dry area that is of course is well ventilated and preferably away from your main dwelling.
Allergens are microscopic pollutants that float throughout the air of an enclosed space. Homes are especially prone to collecting these particles. If there is low circulation, poorly maintained HVAC systems, and bad filters – allergens can run rampant in a home. Allergens are typically considered; mold, mildew, dust mites, dander, and dirt. What is worse, is that these particles in certain concentrations can cause asthma attacks and even affect those who don’t typically have allergies. Investing in a proper HVAC system for your home, as well as, maintaining it regularly with frequent servicing will ensure your home has the cleanest air possible.
Fox Heating and Cooling are here to help.
Now this list is not all-inclusive and there are plenty more airborne pollutants that can be found in your home or business. This article hopefully can give you some insight into what needs to be addressed when considering whether it’s time to pick up the phone and contact your local HVAC contractor. Companies like Fox Heating and Cooling can make sure your existing system is up to grade and will get the job done. Or if you are looking for a brand new install or replacement, be sure to consider Fox.
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