6 Indoor Activities That Harm Air Quality
The quality of the air in your home has a great impact on your family’s health. You may not realize it, but some common activities can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
This is an obvious one. Smoking indoors is one of the biggest culprits of poor indoor air quality. The smoke irritates the respiratory tracts of residents, guests, and even pets. The dangers of secondhand smoke are very real: it can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer. If you must smoke, be sure to do it outside.
2. Staining Wood
Wood stains contain a variety of harmful substances that travel through the air and can get into your lungs. This can lead to throat swelling and difficulty breathing.
Due to these dangers, you’ll want to avoid completing word-working projects inside the house where the fumes can’t escape. If working on a project that can be moved, work on it outside in the driveway or yard, or in an open, well-ventilated garage. Wait until the stain completely dries and has time to air out its fumes before bringing it inside. If you can’t avoid working on your project indoors, such as when refinishing the floors, open all the windows and run a fan or two help direct the fumes out of your home.
Painting is another project that can trap harmful fumes inside the home. In many cases, you can’t avoid doing this inside because it’s your interior that needs the work. For proper ventilation, ensure your windows remain open while you paint or apply primer to reduce the amount of dangerous fumes indoors. If you’re painting something smaller that can be moved outdoors, do so. This is especially true with spray paints. Always spray paint outdoors, and wear a mask for protection.
Cooking is such a common everyday task that we don’t often associate it with danger or indoor air quality. However, many cooking appliances give off fumes that can be dangerous if not properly ventilated. Among these is nitrogen dioxide, which reacts with oxygen in the air to form toxic nitric acid and nitrates. Natural gas ovens, which make up about a third of all ovens in U.S. households, are particularly dangerous. Most kitchens with these ovens have fans for ventilation. Be sure the fan is running properly, and get it fixed promptly if it is not.
5. Common Household Products
Hair sprays, perfumes, solvents, cleaning agents, deodorizers, and other household products may seem harmless enough (and often smell nice), but the airborne chemicals in them can add up and negatively affect your indoor air quality. Volatile organic compounds can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and confusion. This is not to say you can never use hairspray — but it wouldn’t be wise to do it every single morning in a small, enclosed bathroom if you don’t have to.
6. Heating Equipment
Heating equipment is another potential culprit of indoor air pollution that can’t be simply avoided. Everything from furnaces to water heaters to fuel-fired space heaters can release carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, and very dangerous gas. Carbon monoxide can cause headaches and dizziness, respiratory and vision impairment, and flu-like symptoms. It can be fatal in high doses. Since it can’t be seen or smelled, carbon monoxide can easily go undetected. That’s why proper ventilation, strategically-placed carbon monoxide detectors, and routine furnace maintenance are essential to your family’s safety.
Wood burning stoves, gas ranges, unvented kerosene heaters, and more also spread respirable suspended particles into the air, which are particles small enough to inhale. This can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, respiratory infections, and emphysema.
Many of these indoor activities can’t be avoided. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your house is well-ventilated and filtered. That way, you can significantly reduce these indoor air pollutants and decrease the risk of harmful side effects to your family.
Bob Jenson Air Conditioning and Heating installs and repairs HVAC systems of all brands, and we also offer customized air filtration systems for homes and businesses in San Diego County. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.