man in gas mask depicting indoor air pollution

Despite how clean you manage to keep your home, there are always ways to make it even cleaner and safer. Indoor air quality may not be something you have ever thought about. However, now might be a good time to focus more on it. Various household products that you use may be causing more problems than not. You might be surprised to know that many of the products you have trusted for years are actually not as safe as you think they are. It is important to learn how some commonly used household products can produce indoor air pollution and what alternative options you have.

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Indoor Air Quality

Also referred to as IAQ, indoor air quality is the condition of the air within or surrounding a structure. This includes a commercial building or a home. IAQ is associated with the health and comfort of the people in that structure. When indoor air quality is good, the air inside is safer and easier to breathe.

Indoor air quality is particularly important for a home, especially when there are young children present, elderly residents, or people who have compromised immune systems. If there are high levels of pollutants and/or moisture in the indoor air, it could cause increased risks of health problems including respiratory issues and allergies. This is why both homes and commercial buildings need to adhere to IAQ standards.

If you want to eliminate issues with indoor air quality, it is important to understand how pollutants enter the air inside your house. You could actually be using household products that are bringing down the cleanliness levels of your indoor air.

 

Household Products That Affect Indoor Air Quality

Household Cleaning Products

cleaning products and indoor air quality

Many cleaning products on the market are made with chemicals that can negatively affect both your health and the environment. Cleaning products that contain anything from ammonia, bleach, powerful synthetic fragrances, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) lower the indoor air quality in a residential space. These chemicals can result in a strong reaction, especially if you mix them with other chemicals.

Solution: By choosing household cleaning products that are made with eco-friendly ingredients and avoiding those that are formulated with harmful chemicals, you can naturally improve your indoor air quality. If possible, research more about how to clean with natural ingredients like baking soda or vinegar.

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Paint

paint and VOCs

The fact that you can smell fresh paint means that you are probably breathing in something that is bad for your health. Many of the varieties of paint that are still in use contain VOCs. These contaminants are full of carbon compounds, which can easily transform into vapors. When these intermingle with the air, the reaction with other elements creates ozone. This can amplify air pollution. As the paint dries, it continues to release VOCs into the air, and this is the pollution that you breathe in.

Solution: Choose paint that contains low or zero VOCs to keep your indoor air clean. Your lungs will thank you for it.

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Products In Aerosol Spray Form

Aerosol Sprays

You can purchase many products that are designed as aerosol sprays. These include hairspray and other hair treatments, shaving cream, deodorant, and fragrances. Even aerosol cooking oil spray is suspicious because of chemicals that are added. This includes artificial flavors, propellants like butane, isobutane, and propane, and a variety of foam-preventing silicone.

The problem with aerosol sprays is that they are formulated to send out tiny liquid droplets into the air. Sometimes, this liquid consists of harmful ingredients that are not safe to use. About 30 years ago, people exposed aerosol sprays as polluting substances that were also harmful to the environment.

Solution: If possible, avoid using aerosol sprays, or limit their use to avoid sending irritants into the air. You can find many products in other forms that are safer to use and have little to no effects on your home’s IAQ.

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Household Air Fresheners

We have all reached for a can of air freshener to eliminate a bad odor, but did you know that air freshener also contains ingredients that are harmful? Certain air fresheners can release over 100 various chemicals. Many of those chemicals can be harmful to health or even toxic. These chemicals can also have reactions with other substances in your indoor air and that can result in more dangerous compounds being produced. Consequently, some people may cough or sneeze after inhaling even a small amount of air freshener. If the spray touches the skin, it could also cause irritation, redness, and itchiness.

It might seem counter-intuitive that a product that is designed to make the air ‘fresher’ can actually cause problems with indoor air quality. However, it is not shocking. Air fresheners are actually made with fragrances, propellants, and various kinds of additives that all lend a hand in reducing IAQ.

Solution: Use natural ingredients to get rid of bad odors and improve indoor air quality.

Candles In The Home

paraffin wax candles

Many people think that candles are innocent, but they can also be harmful to your health. Fortunately, not all candles are harmful — only those that contain paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a by-product of coal oil, shale, or petroleum. By themselves, they are most likely harmless. However,  when they are lit they begin to disperse carcinogenic compounds into the air. A particular study showed that the fumes emitted by paraffin wax candles were connected to lung cancer and asthma.

Solution: Do not use paraffin wax candles often. If you use candles on a regular basis, try to find ones made with natural ingredients like beeswax.

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Dry Cleaning Clothes

image of dry cleaning

Dry cleaning uses an organic solvent to remove dirt, bad odors, and stains. The solutions used in dry cleaning can pose risks, especially for those who have pre-existing medical conditions that involve the heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys. PERC (perchloroethylene) is the most alarming type of ingredient used in dry cleaning. This is a variant of VOC and it can be particularly problematic if exposure to the chemical occurs for a prolonged period.

Solution: If you must have your clothes dry cleaned, be sure to unwrap them outdoors. Let them sit outside for some time so that the dangerous chemicals can disperse. Furthermore, Choose a trusted dry cleaning company and don’t be afraid to say something if you notice that your dry-cleaned clothes have a strong smell.

 

Conclusion

To manage indoor air quality properly, it is important to be actively aware of the various products that could result in IAQ issues. Keeping your indoor air safe is good for your personal safety and health. It is also necessary to properly maintain the environment. Little steps can produce big differences. Being actively involved will make sure that your home and the people who live in it are kept safe and comfortable.

Call Tower Energy To Learn How To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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Tower Energy provides outstanding cooling and heating services in Hartford County, Connecticut, and the surrounding areas. Our team consists of the best NATE certified specialists who can offer you exceptional HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, and tune-ups. Each team member has years of experience and superior knowledge to service your HVAC properly.

Tower Energy guarantees heating and cooling costs that are the most competitive in the area. Our services can elevate your comfort levels, improve your indoor air quality, and improve your energy efficiency, all while bringing down your cooling and heating costs.

If you are in need of HVAC repairs or a replacement HVAC system, we can recommend the perfect choice for you that also fits with your budget. Our work is backed with a satisfaction guarantee. For a free in-home estimate or to schedule an appointment, give Tower Energy a call today.

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