3 Things People Get Wrong About Indoor Air Pollution

None other than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that indoor air pollution could be worse than outdoors. More specifically, the volume of pollutants inside a building or a home could be as much as 100 times more than those on roads. Worse, usually, people spend 90 percent of their time indoors.

One of the best ways to significantly reduce the impact of indoor air pollution is air duct cleaning. Even the best heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system needs maintenance simply because of how it works.

Ducts, for example, can recirculate air multiple times in a day. In each circulation, some pollutants can accumulate in the system. This can further cause health problems as contaminants can breed bacteria and other pathogens. Moreover, it makes heating and cooling systems work harder, thereby raising energy costs.

However, some still forego duct cleaning because of the wrong beliefs or assumptions about poor indoor air quality. Because of the excessive risks it places on human health, it’s time to break them once and for all:

  1. To Avoid Pet Dander, Homeowners Can Get Hypoallergenic Dogs

One of the most common pollutants—and triggers of allergies and asthma—is pet dander. This doesn’t refer to the coat per se but instead flecks of skin that fall off from the animals’ bodies. One can liken this to dandruff.

Pet dander is microscopic, but the skin may contain enzymes and other components from the animal’s saliva, triggering an abnormal immune response. In turn, the person reacts to the dander.

To remove dander, a homeowner needs to clean the house, particularly carpets and furniture where the pets hang out, regularly. However, even then, some find their way into the duct. Once it gets circulated, dander goes back inside the house.

Thus, some homeowners propose getting “hypoallergenic pets.” These are animals that seem to produce fewer allergens. While they may be better options than other breeds, they still shed dander, and this may still cause some reactions to those highly sensitive to it.

  1. Indoor Air Pollution Is Different from Outdoor Air Pollution

Although the types of pollution inside and outside the house can vary, sometimes the latter can influence the other, according to a study by the University of Utah in 2021. How they affect, though, depends on the type of pollution.

Take, for example, winter inversions, which are common in the state. In an inversion, the cold air, which is lighter, is below warm air, which is denser. Because of this, cold air cannot rise while warm air traps anything underneath it, including particulate matter.

When the team tested the effects of inversion on indoor air, they found that it influenced only 30 percent of the air quality inside a property. This could be because the chunk of pollutants present during inversion can change once they travel indoors.

Meanwhile, wildfires may trigger a level that may be deemed harmful to human health. But as long as the space has excellent air handling mechanisms (and probably clean ducts too), the quality of air inside will still be better than outside.

So what can have the greatest negative impact on indoor air? The answer is fireworks.

  1. Anything That Floats Like Particles and Smoke Are the Leading Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

There’s no doubt that the classic culprits for poor indoor air quality are pet dander, dust and debris, and other small particles that ducts or HVAC units can pick up.

But these are not the only sources of indoor air pollutants. Worse, those unseen can become the leading causes of poor air quality inside buildings and homes.

In a 2021 study by the University of York, the researchers discovered that household aerosol products could create or release smog that could be more harmful than the ones produced by vehicles. In fact, homes likely produce more smog than outdoors.

Anything with hydrofluorocarbons or chlorofluorocarbons, which act as refrigerants, can also function as greenhouse gases, contributing to carbon emissions. However, so do a lot of personal care products like deodorants.

Meanwhile, a 2019 study by the American Chemical Society cited how regular cleaning products, like bleach, can also increase indoor contaminants, especially when the fumes combine with a citrusy compound. Moreover, many previous types of research already established that many types of wall paint can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Busting these wrong beliefs can help homeowners reduce their risk of getting sick because of poor indoor air quality and stress the importance of a clean, working HVAC system.