The ABC's of Indoor Air Quality - What's In the Air?

Posted August 19, 2014

As colder weather approaches and we begin to spend more time indoors, it's a good time to consider the air quality in our homes. According to the EPA, these are the most common indoor air pollutants found in U.S. homes:

1. Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. In the U.S. it is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year. Because it is not detectable to human senses, your home should be tested using an EPA approved radon test kit. If your home has unhealthy levels of radon, sealing cracks in the foundation and ensuring proper ventilation can reduce the levels or radon gas.

2. Biological Pollutants

These can include mold, bacteria, viruses, pollen, pet dander and dust mites. Boilogical matter can cause allergies and other health problems. Having your ducts cleaned and changing your furnace filter regularly can reduce the amount of bilogical matter in the air. The most effective way to remove biological matter from the air is with a whole house air cleaner that uses a high quality HEPA filter.

3. Combustion Pollutants

Sources include: fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters and other appliances that use oil or natural gas for combustion. These appliances can produce two harmful gases - carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - that are colorless and odorless. Symtoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. The best way to prevent combustion pollution is to make sure your furnace is professionally maintained annually and to ensure your water heater is properly maintained and vented.

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