Which Contaminants Can Affect Home Air Quality?

Around Phoenix and throughout the country, indoor air quality remains a considerable concern. This concern only grows as people spend more and more time inside due to environmental disasters that pollute outdoor air, like forest fires. However, when the concern is something microscopic and otherwise invisible to the human eye, it can be challenging to know exactly what contaminants affect home air quality and what contaminants to be concerned about.

With this difficulty can come a belief it’s not essential to filter your home’s indoor air. Unfortunately, those beliefs are unfounded. To demonstrate this, we’ll go over the adverse health effects of indoor air on human health and some of the most common sources of poor indoor air in homes and businesses.

Why Are Indoor Air Pollutants Hazardous?

To care about the quality of your home’s air is to care about your health and the health of anyone else who enters your house. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, just a single exposure to a pollutant is enough to cause adverse health effects, such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and irritation in your eyes, nose, and throat. For those with asthma, the consequences can worsen and cause an aggravated attack. It should be noted that these are merely the immediate effects.

The long-term effects of exposure to indoor air contaminants and air quality problems can be even worse. Severe illnesses, like cancer, heart disease, and some forms of respiratory disease, can develop in those with repeated exposure to indoor air pollutants. While these extreme outcomes may not occur for everyone, the fact that these illnesses are possible should concern everyone.

What Indoor Air Pollutants Are Hazardous?

Some indoor air contaminants come from expected sources, such as cigarette smoke. Others may come from a beloved pet. Due to our dusty environment in Arizona, we must be especially vigilant in maintaining a high standard of air quality in our home. If you don’t, you may find yourself dealing with the health issues listed above.

1. Bacteria and Other Biological Contaminants

Biological contaminants, such as bacteria, mold, mildew, and viruses, can be hazardous0 to those breathing them in. These contaminants can easily spread through the air and are difficult to control. That is, if someone has the flu in one part of your home, the virus can spread through the HVAC system even if the person is otherwise isolated.

Mold and mildew can also spread and grow rapidly due to microscopic spores. Suppose you’ve recently had an issue with standing water or issues with damp, moist areas of your home. In that case, you are even more likely to experience the spread of these biological contaminants.

2. Combustion

It’s incredibly important for a home or business to be well ventilated. Gas-fired appliances, such as furnaces, ranges, and water heaters, can produce dangerous gases. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxides can quickly build up in your home. Somewhat fortunately, some gases give off a noxious odor that makes them relatively easy to identify.
Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, is colorless and odorless. Without appropriately placed carbon monoxide monitors inside your home, you could be exposed to this toxic gas without even realizing it. Should the carbon monoxide leak occur at night, it may be too late for you to take corrective actions and leave home.

3. Dust

Arizona’s desert environment is prone to dust storms. There also tends to be a lot of new construction and remodeling projects in the area. Any of these sources can cause it to be swept up into your HVAC system and spread throughout the home. As you continue to breathe in the dust, your eyes may begin to water and your throat can become scratchy. You may find yourself coughing more than typical, which can further exacerbate the irritation.
If you’re having construction done inside your home, it’s essential to take steps to stop the spread of dust. For instance, air filters can help prevent them from entering your HVAC system.

4. Pet Dander

In some cases, your family’s beloved pet could be the cause of your home’s poor air quality. Dander, which are technically small flakes of skin that fall off the animal, can cause anyone to experience negative health effects. If you’re allergic to dogs or cats, you may find your allergies especially difficult to deal with.

Pet dander is extremely small and light. This allows it to stay in the air for longer than other contaminants such as dust. Dogs or cats that are prone to shedding tend to release more dander than breeds considered shed-free.

5. Pollen & Seasonal Allergies

If you experience seasonal allergies, the cause is likely pollen. During each season, certain plants will release tiny grains. These grains are lightweight and capable of traveling in high concentrations and to far distances. Biologically, pollen aims to help fertilize plants of the same species.

One of the most common pollen allergies is caused by grass. However, ragweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed, and quite a few trees also release allergy-inducing pollen.

Pollen allergies are fairly widespread. That’s why the pollen count is often included in weather reports.

6. Radon Gas in Homes

Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. This means it’s incredibly important to take steps to prevent it from entering the interior air of your home or business.

Generally, it should be noted that radon levels in Arizona are quite low. However, there are certain areas outside of Phoenix that are considered potential hotspots for this lung cancer-causing toxin. Tucson, Verde Valley, and the Granite Dells all contain higher-than-typical radon levels in the state of AZ.

Even though radon levels may be low in Phoenix, it’s still important to test your home for the naturally-occurring radioactive gas. For information on how to do so, check out the EPA’s website.

7. Tobacco & Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is dangerous for those who inhale it, whether it’s first-hand or second-hand. The studies on tobacco dangers are so widespread that there’s no need to go into the details. However, as smoking is still popular, it should be noted that any tobacco smoke inside or near your home can lead to severe health issues, such as cancer.

A-Z Air Duct Is Here To Improve Your Home Air Quality

At A-Z Air Duct, we use the Air Scrubber Plus® air filtration system with ActivePure technology to improve the quality of the air inside our clients’ homes and businesses. This air purifier is 50 times more powerful than the typical filtration system and easily integrates into your current HVAC system. Once installed, it uses state-of-the-art germicidal UV light waves and proprietary air scrubbers to clean, freshen, and purify the air. It can even reduce lingering odors.

This system will protect the air inside your home or business. It’s effective in reducing harmful bacteria and viruses, such as swine flu, avian flu, and hepatitis A.

If you want the proven effectiveness of the Air Scrubber Plus® air filtration system with ActivePure technology to improve your home air quality or the air quality inside your place of business, give us a call today at 602-466-2234. For a free quote, you can also reach out and contact us through our website.


Featured Image Credit / dizain