Concerned About Indoor Air Quality: Eliminate These Common Household Items

The COVID-19 pandemic brought indoor air quality monitoring front and center for many people. At least one study suggested that improving indoor air quality could be as effective in reducing the transmission of airborne viruses as vaccinating 50% -- 60% of a population.

While there are certainly things homeowners can do to breathe easier at home, like regular cleaning, not smoking or vaping indoors, and air monitoring, there are several household items that can be eliminated to greatly improve indoor air quality.

How Can I Improve My Indoor Air Quality? Start Here.

Eliminate the use of these items commonly found or used in the home to improve your indoor air quality …

1. Scented Candles and Indoor Air Quality

No doubt, burning a scented candle in your home can eliminate unwanted odors and make a room feel warm and inviting.

But because most are made of paraffin—a derivative of petroleum—they release toxins like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and soot into the air. Your walls and ceilings can discolor, and your home’s ductwork can become contaminated.

Thankfully, there are safer options on the market. A soy candle, for instance, burns longer and doesn’t release any toxic materials. Beeswax is another candle material that doesn’t produce toxins or soot when burned. These candles, however, tend to be more expensive.

2. Teflon Pans

One of the main chemicals found in a Teflon pan is polytetrafluoroethylene, more simply known as PTFE. When that material is heated at high temperatures for cooking, that chemical breaks down and releases toxic fumes. This can be dangerous for both humans and pets.

Manufacturers of kitchen products have figured out some safer materials for their pots and pans over the years, like sol-gel nonstick coating, which is primarily made of silicon dioxide.

3. Cleaning Products

Read the labels of cleaning products carefully. Many contain harsh chemicals that can trigger breathing problems or an asthma attack. Especially avoid products that are considered flammable and contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

A safer alternative is making your own solutions using water, vinegar, and baking soda.

4. Secondhand Smoke 

There’s a reason why so many states have banned indoor smoking: It’s absolutely terrible for air quality and your health. Cigarettes are not only bad for your own health and your home’s indoor air quality, but the fumes stain walls and leave an odor that’s extremely difficult to remediate.

5. Air Fresheners 

Air fresheners typically contain VOCs. These compounds may mask bad odors, but they’re prone to irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, and can cause headaches. Consistent exposure to VOCs over time can result in more serious health effects, like chronic migraines, respiratory difficulties, and neurological problems.

6. Paint 

Paints and paint strippers can emit chemical compounds and particles that, when breathed in, can be detrimental to your health.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t paint the interior of your home, but you should take some precautions:

  • Use low-VOC or zero-VOC paints.
  • Plan to have the work done while your home is unoccupied.
  • Ventilate! Keep windows open for as long as possible, even while the paint is drying.
  • Take air breaks. Every couple of hours make sure to walk outside to breathe in some fresh air.

Breathe Easier Today

There are countless other strategies to improve your home’s indoor air quality, and the experts at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning can help! Request an appointment today to learn more about how our experts can help you and your family breathe easier.