Winter has arrived in Corpus Christi, TX, and homeowners will be spending more time indoors to stay warm. Unfortunately, more time indoors can expose you and everyone who shares your home to air pollution hazards. Here are five common sources of indoor air pollution:
The construction materials used to build your home can be a source of indoor air pollution. Many building materials such as roofing tiles, floor tiles, wall insulation and paint contain asbestos, which can cause serious health problems if you inhale it.
Under normal circumstances, these building materials are quite safe. But they can release tiny asbestos fibers into the air if you cut, disturb or damage them. These fibers are invisible to the naked eye. You cannot destroy them with water, cleaners or fire.
The construction of many buildings erected through the 1970s has asbestos materials. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find that asbestos still exists in some homes.
Household Products and Pesticides
Thousands of common household cleaning products, beauty products and pesticides contain ingredients that emit dangerous gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are safe in small quantities. But exposing your household to them daily or over long periods presents a potential health hazard.
Prolonged and repeated exposure to VOCs can cause heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer in humans and pets. Common symptoms of exposure include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and headaches, among others.
Dirt, Dust and Moisture
Any surfaces or spaces inside your home where dirt, dust and moisture accumulate can become breeding grounds for pests, bacteria and biological growth. Dust mites, which are one of the most common sources of allergens inside homes, flourish on wet surfaces or wherever moisture can accumulate.
Body parts and droppings from cockroaches are another common source of indoor air pollution that can trigger allergic reactions in many people. Like dust mites, cockroaches thrive inside houses where dirt and dust accumulate and moisture and humidity levels are higher than optimal.
Allergens, pollen and other pollutants from outdoors often make their way inside homes after sticking to your clothes when you’re away or your pets when they play outside. When brought from the cold outdoors into a warm, humid environment, these biological contaminants can grow and spread bacteria, viruses and odors through the air in your home. Annual preventive maintenance by an HVAC service technician and regular filter changes can help reduce the spread of these pollutants.
Pets are another common source of indoor air pollution in homes. Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and fish are the more common ones, but any type of pet inside your home can produce odors from food, urine and feces. Your pets’ food dishes, water dishes, bedding, toilet areas, and chew toys can all harbor germs and bacteria that multiply and produce foul-smelling odors. Here are some common air pollutants that indoor pets can create on your property:
- Nitrous oxide.
- Pet fur and pet dander.
Automobiles in Attached Garages
Another source of indoor air pollution inside many homes comes from attached garages. Although you may enjoy the convenience of having your garage attached to your home with a door leading into the kitchen or hallway, considerable potential for dangerous health problems is associated with this feature.
Automobile engines create carbon monoxide gas and release it into your garage when the engine is running. Lack of proper ventilation will allow much of that lethal gas to enter your home as your car is warming up in the morning. It’s important to leave the garage door open when the engine is running and keep the door to the house closed as well.
Don’t let pollution reduce your indoor air quality and create health hazards for you and your family. Protect your home by contacting our indoor air quality solution experts at Bodine-Scott Air Conditioning & Plumbing Co. today to set up an appointment.
Image provided by iStock