Common Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

December 6, 2018

(View as a downloadable PDF version)

Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Do you know what’s lurking in the air you breathe at home?

Biological Contaminants

Dust mites, pet dander, pollen, viruses, bacteria, and mold

Issue:

These trigger allergies, intensify asthma symptoms, and cause illness.

Fact:

Studies have found a link between early mold exposure and some children developing asthma.

Recommendations:

Install an air filtration system to remove dust, pollen, and other particulates from the air.

Install an air purification system to sterilize viruses, bacteria, and mold using UV light.

Install a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture and prevent mold growth.

Combustion Appliances

Furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, and cooking ranges

Issue:

These can release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and smoke particles.

Fact:

CO is lethal in high concentrations, while NO2 and smoke particles can cause bronchitis and other respiratory issues.

Recommendations:

Schedule regular maintenance for your heating system.

Ventilate with an HRV or ERV to give contaminated air a path out of the home.

Household Products

Cleaning products, personal care products, paints, and finishes

Issue:

Many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Fact:

VOCs can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, as well as frequent headaches and nausea.

Recommendations:

Limit your use of harsh household chemicals.

Ventilate with an HRV or ERV for a continuous supply of fresh, filtered air.

Indoor Furnishings

Engineered wood products, synthetic fabrics, and some cosmetics

Issue:

These products often emit formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

Fact:

Regular exposure to formaldehyde can damage your central nervous system and increase your risk of developing ALS.

Recommendations:

Avoid products and furnishings with high levels of formaldehyde.

Ventilate with an HRV or ERV for a continuous supply of fresh, filtered air.

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