5 common causes of home air pollution, and how to avoid them.
Did you know that certain household items can have an impact on indoor air pollution? The air in your home can be more polluted than the outdoors, but there are some things you can do to maintain a healthy environment.
1. Air Fresheners
Believe it or not, air fresheners and other household cleaning products can actually pollute your indoor air. This is because most store-bought air fresheners can emit pollutants that are as toxic as secondhand smoke due to the amount of ethylene-based glycol ether in them.
Solution – instead of using air fresheners, consider purifying your air with houseplants or essential oils instead.
Candles smell nice, and they set the mood. However, their ultra-fine particles contribute to the exposure of indoor particulate matter, which correlates to lung inflammation. Scented candles can also release a harmful chemical compound called formaldehyde.
Solution – If you must use them in your home, choose candles made from soy or beeswax.
3. Household Cleaners
Many cleaning supplies or household products can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems, including cancer. Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful ingredients include ammonia and bleach. Even natural fragrances such as citrus can react to produce dangerous pollutants indoors.
Solution – As a safer cleaning alternative, warm water and soap often will do the trick, especially at home. Baking soda is good for scrubbing. A mix of vinegar and water can clean glass.
4. Cigarette Smoke
Some homeowners like to smoke indoors. However, cigarette smoke is one of the most common causes of indoor air pollution in homes. In fact, air duct cleaning pros say that they can cling to the fabric or carpeting of your rooms for days if you smoke indoors.
Solution – consider doing it outdoors or in a well-ventilated room.
5. Stored Paint
Be careful about storing open paint cans in your home or garage. Nearly empty cans can emit VOC gases and cause issues with your air quality. Some VOCs have even been known to cause cancer.
Solution – Choose low-VOC paints and store outdoors if possible.
Air duct cleaning can help!
While you can avoid household products like the ones mentioned above, you can’t remove every pollutant from your home. Every day, your HVAC system pulls the air from inside your home and recirculates it many times. Eventually, this re-circulation can lead to a build up of contaminants in your ductwork which flows back into your home. Proper air duct cleaning can improve the ventilation in your home and reduce the pollutants that may be hidden in your air ducts and in the air you breathe.