Is the air in your home as healthy as it could be? Even tidy homes can contain a shocking amount of indoor air pollutants from sources you might not expect. Considering that most of us spend the majority of our time inside (according to the EPA), it’s important to take threats to indoor air quality seriously.
These are four sources of indoor air pollution that might be in your home right now.
1. Household Cleaning Products
Even though some cleaning products might be good at making the surfaces of your home clean and sterile, many are guilty of worsening your indoor air quality with toxic chemicals. The most harmful products release pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Research from the EPA indicates that VOCs can result in several adverse short- and long-term health effects, ranging from throat irritation to central nervous system damage.
2. Gas Ovens and Stoves
Even when a combustion appliance operates correctly, it produces several indoor air pollutants, one of which is carbon monoxide. That’s why it’s crucial to run the exhaust fan or leave a nearby window open while cooking with your gas oven or stove. Running the fan will also remove excess humidity released from cooking, reducing the risk of a kitchen mold problem.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, get your combustion appliances (including your gas furnace) inspected annually by a professional. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Furniture Made of Pressed Wood
We hate to break it to you, but discount furniture that’s oh-so-affordable comes with a price most people don’t expect: reduced air quality. Furniture made of pressed wood (aka, engineered wood or composite wood) releases many different VOCs, such as formaldehyde. This is due to the adhesives and resins that manufacturers use to construct pressed wood.
Solid softwoods can also be a source of VOCs because of how they’re treated. Natural, solid hardwood furniture is the least likely to worsen your home’s indoor air quality, but that can vary depending on what’s used to paint or stain it. Speaking of paint...
4. Paint with VOCs
Ever noticed how that “new paint smell” can sometimes give you a headache or allergic symptoms? That’s because many paints for home interiors release (or “off-gas”) volatile organic compounds into the air. This off-gassing can last for months after you paint a surface.
When painting furniture or walls in your home, opt for low-VOC or VOC-free paints. If you’re worried about a lack of selection, never fear! Many brands offer just as many shades of VOC-free paint as traditional paint.
For more ways to improve your indoor air quality on a day-to-day basis, check out our tips and our advanced solutions here.