We all know pollution is something to avoid, but to many, it’s a concept that only applies to big cities and the outdoors. Indoor air pollution is a real problem – and it affects as many as half of the homes across the United States! As we spend more time in our homes, we may get the feeling of needing to step outside for fresh air or a resurgence in allergy symptoms like sneezing. These may be signs of pollutants in your home, reducing the air quality and affecting your long-term health!
Read on to learn more about common indoor air pollution sources and how you can clean the air circulating throughout your home.
Common Indoor Air Pollution Sources
Mold & Moisture According to Berkeley Lab’s indoor Air Quality research, around 50 percent of all United States homes have issues relating to moisture and mold. More concerning is that dampness and mold in homes can increase the rates of respiratory and related health issues by up to 70 percent!
Molds release mold spores that pollute your indoor air. Mold spores in the air are one of the most common sources of allergies, and can worsen issues like asthma. Even if you don’t suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses, long-term exposure to mold spores can lead to major health risks that vary depending on the mold and your body’s response.
Mold relies on moisture to grow, making moisture just as primary of an issue as the mold itself. Even if you clean away mold as you find it, if you don’t treat the existing water source, the mold will keep coming back.
Unfortunately, insects love to share our homes. While you may occasionally catch a wandering spider or ant, there is a smaller invader that’s invisible to the naked eye: the dust mite. While dust mites don’t bite or cause any direct problems, they thrive on small particles throughout your home. After they eat, they leave behind waste that gets picked up and circulated through your home.
Like mold spores, these waste particles can trigger immune responses and cause health issues in homeowners or guests. Also like mold, high humidity is one contributing factor to how rapidly dust mite populations will expand in your home. The more humidity, the faster they spread!
When you think of combustion, you may think of wood burning in your fireplace. But that’s just one form of combustion that can lead to indoor air pollution! There are plenty of potential sources of combustion in your home, including:
- Gas Appliances
- Kerosene Heaters
- Motor Vehicles in Attached Garages
- Incense Burners
Anything that functions by combustion will have a byproduct that can easily find its way into your home’s air – and it’s not always as easy for it to find a way out! The types of pollutants from combustion include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other microscopic particles that you can inhale.
Byproducts of combustion can irritate more than just your lungs. Depending on the type of combustion and the thickness of the pollutant, you could find yourself dealing with throat, nose, eye and even ear issues ranging from minor irritation to infection.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Chemical compounds are everywhere both inside and outside. However, scientists concerned with the effects of these compounds, known as “VOCs,” are primarily concerned with prolonged exposure that happens when they’re in the air in your home.
VOCs are found in all types of home products. While some come from combustion, others can be found in more passive sources like chemicals from stored paint, cleaning supplies, carpet, vinyl flooring or air fresheners. Several of these compounds give off no odor, making them challenging for the average homeowner to detect.
Many factors play a role in how threatening these can be to your long-term health. Those with asthma or who may be sensitive to chemical compounds will have the most reaction, but they can affect almost anyone given enough time and density of exposure.
Solutions for Indoor Air Pollution
One of the best solutions for indoor air pollution and improving the general air quality of your home is a complete basement waterproofing system. Most of the issues that contribute to poor in-home air quality are associated with moisture intrusion and high humidity levels. By removing sources of moisture and stabilizing your humidity levels to a safe medium, you can reduce irritants like mold, mites and insects.
Waterproofing comes in several forms and often depends on what’s best for your home. For minor cases of foundation cracks or elevated levels of humidity, crack injections or investing in a dehumidifier can make a big difference! For more severe waterproofing issues, you may need to look at full waterproofing systems that can relieve hydrostatic pressure, divert moisture away from the home and create additional stability against future cracks or shifting.
E-Z Breathe System
When it comes to polluted indoor air, the biggest issues many homes face is the closed loop of circulation that happens in their basement. If you’ve ever noticed a stale, musty smell in your basement while the rest of your house is fresh as a summer breeze, you may know exactly what we’re talking about!
When air gets circulated in a closed system, it simply builds up new contaminants over time without having an opportunity to release them. The only escape is often you every time you walk into the basement! An E-Z Breathe system is an automated ventilation device that makes it easy to keep your air cleaner:
- It doesn’t require filters
- It’s low-power so it doesn’t add much to energy bills
- It works in all types of basements, from finished ones to slabs and even in crawl spaces
An E-Z Breathe system can help fight common air pollutants in your home that cause allergies, respiratory illness and can even help reduce viruses and bacteria in your home!
Why You Should Take Indoor Air Pollution & Air Quality Seriously
Indoor air quality, sometimes referred to simply as “IAQ” is something that everyone should consider a priority when maintaining their homes. Whether you live in an apartment, condo or own your own home, basic cleaning isn’t always enough to prevent or remediate on-going indoor air pollution!
In the short-term, exposure to pollutants often causes minor symptoms like coughs, sore throats, sneezing and headaches. Not only can these be frustrating to deal with, they also strain your health and can leave you vulnerable to further issues.
Long-term effects of poor indoor air quality can lead to severe conditions ranging from fevers to nausea and respiratory infections. Not all people are prone to these, but unresolved air quality problems are a compounding problem that generally only get worse when not solved. A small amount of pollution over months or years can lead to health issues that may affect you for the rest of your life!
Schedule Your FREE Annual Foundation Inspection
The best way to protect your home from poor air quality is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you. Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today!
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