What Are the Most Dangerous Indoor Air Pollutants?

cigarette smoke

Have you ever considered whether dangerous pollutants are lurking within your home’s air? Many of us probably do not put much thought into it, but according to the American Lung Association, dangerous elements within our home and workplaces are becoming recognized more and more as threats to our health. Here’s a look at some of the most common and dangerous pollutants found in indoor air and how to prevent them from harming your family.

Dangerous Indoor Air Pollutants

Biological Pollutants: These pollutants include mold, bacteria, pet dander, waste from dust mites and insects and more. All these things can build inside in your air conditioner, in filters, ducts and coils, and spread throughout your home as the air circulates. These kinds of pollutants are known for worsening the symptoms of existing conditions like allergies and asthma and may even cause respiratory infections.

Combustion Pollutants: Any appliances or devices in your home that burn fuel, such as gas stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, heaters or water heaters, emit combustion pollutants when used. When fuel is burned, it releases carbon monoxides and nitrogen dioxide, both of which are colorless, odorless and very dangerous. Exposure to carbon monoxide interrupts the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, which can result in fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches and other symptoms. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide irritates the eyes, nose and throat and can lead to infections. In very high concentrations, exposure to either gas can be especially harmful.

Radon: A naturally occurring radioactive gas, radon is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. This pollutant can infiltrate your home through cracks in the floors and walls, drains, and other openings.

Cigarette Smoke: Secondhand tobacco smoke is one the most dangerous indoor air pollutants there is. Smoke from cigarettes contains around 200 known poisons, including 60 carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals). If someone smokes inside of your house, poisons ranging from formaldehyde to carbon monoxide may be lingering the air. Of course, the best way to avoid the negative effects of cigarette smoke is to not smoke at all or to never allow others to smoke in your home.

How to Protect Your Indoor Air Quality

The recommended method for keeping your indoor air safe varies by the pollutant. However, proper ventilation is typically the best place to start. Appropriate ventilation will allow harmful gases emitted from fuel burning to escape, while sealing cracks and crevices in your home will help keep radon out. Additionally, keeping your air conditioning system properly cleaned and maintaining an appropriate indoor humidity level will reduce buildup of biological components like mold and bacteria.

Whether you’re looking to improve your home’s ventilation, schedule AC maintenance, install a dehumidifier or for another indoor air quality solution, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater has you covered. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help keep your family healthy and safe.