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August 13, 2014

What causes indoor air quality pollution?

Indoor air quality problems come from two major sources. One is outdoor air that enters our home, carrying with it pollution and airborne contaminants. The other is ourselves. We introduce items into our homes or offices that release harmful off gases, spores and fibers into the air.

indoor air pollutants are anything that release an off gas or particle into the air. Contaminant levels are compounded when we do not introduce enough fresh air into our homes. This fails to happen with non-performing ventilation systems or by not opening a window from time to time.


Sources of Pollution

There are many sources of air pollution in our homes. These include chemicals that give off harmful off-gases such as paints, oil or gasoline. Building materials, especially in older homes, can also create airborne pollution in the form of asbestos fibers, dust and other airborne particulates. In wet, damp areas of our homes, such as bathroom, kitchens or even basements, mold spores can grow and become airborne. Even outside our home, radon can be introduced through ventilation systems or through cracks in foundations.

Although their are many more sources of indoor air pollution, the end result is the same. The contaminant needs to be identified as early as possible to ensure the health and safety of the buildings occupants. The frequency and volume of the pollutant needs to be identified in order to create a proper purification program. Some sources of pollution will create air problems intermittently while others can be more or less frequent. Depending on the source, the volume of pollution can be higher or lower but can only be verified by a certified inspector with proper testing equipment.


Air Quality Improvement Tips

  • open windows when using cleaning products or painting. This allows fresh air to enter and polluted air to escape.
  • turn on exhaust fans when showering or running hot water.
  • check behind sinks, toilets, shower heads, faucets and other water sources periodically to ensure that they are clean and bacteria free.
  • introduce plants into your building that will improve indoor air quality, especially when occupant levels are high. Certain ones can clear pollutants like formaldehyde while clearing out carbon dioxide levels produced by humans and introducing fresh oxygen.
  • check your roof and soffit for signs of ventilation blockage. Blocked airflow passages trap in stagnant, polluted air and do not allow fresh air to enter.
  • when a water leak occurs, be sure to dry and clean the area as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.
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