The Air In Your Home Can Be More Polluted Than The Air Outside. These Pollutants Pose The Biggest Threat
We don’t mean to alarm you – but every breath you take in your home has the potential to be a little bit dangerous. Experts predict that the air inside your home can be anywhere from 5 to 100 times more polluted than the air outside. A lot of those pollutants – dust, pet dander, even excessive moisture – can be irritating, but aren’t necessarily risky. But some, like the ones below, can be downright deadly.
Take a look at the five most dangerous pollutants you may have in your home, then contact your friends at Comfort First to discuss how we can improve your indoor air quality and help you breathe easier.
You can barely turn on the TV without seeing a commercial where one law firm or another is offering to help people sue asbestos manufacturers. Asbestos has very high heat resistance, which made it ideal for home insulation; but over time, it became linked to a number of health issues, the biggest of which is mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. Anytime the material is disturbed, it can release fibers into the air, and you do not want them getting into your lungs.
A HEPA-based air purifier is capable of filtering out airborne asbestos particles, but if you live in an older home and haven’t checked the insulation in a while, it would be worth the effort to have a professional come in to inspect the home and perform careful removal if any asbestos is found.
2) Carbon Monoxide
Odorless, colorless and tasteless, carbon monoxide has a reputation as a silent killer. Small amounts of this poisonous gas can cause uncomfortable symptoms like headache, nausea and blurred vision; high levels in a confined space can lead to death. It is not something to be trifled with, but unfortunately there are numerous appliances in your home that can cause levels to spike. Gas ovens, water heaters, charcoal grills and car exhaust in the garage are all potential sources.
Because it’s virtually undetectable by our senses, it’s important to provide them with backup. A carbon monoxide detector is just as important as a smoke detector if anything in your home is powered by gas. If your stove uses gas for cooking, make sure you have a good quality vent hood above it to pull the gas outside. If anyone in your home is experiencing symptoms in line with CO poisoning, get them medical attention immediately.
3) Black Mold
If the humidity in your home is too high – staying above a relative level of 40% – then you might inadvertently be promoting indoor growth of mold spores. While mold in general isn’t good, if the species known as black mold, Stachybotrys, is present, it can cause a number of negative effects on your health. Respiratory issues, rhinitis, edema and even pulmonary emphysema can result from exposure to this mold. Children and people who are immunocompromised are particularly susceptible.
If there is mold present in your home, you need to clean it up and deal with the excess humidity by installing a whole home dehumidifier. Even if it isn’t black mold, it’s unsightly and can be an irritant. There are many household cleaning products that can kill mold, or you can make your own with one cup of bleach mixed with one gallon of water. If the problem is pervasive, you’ll want to contact a mold mitigation specialist.
You may be a little surprised to find radon on the list, as it isn’t something that comes up very often. But experts believe that radon may be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, and chances are it’s in your home. Radon is a naturally occurring colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that results from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Like uranium, it is radioactive. If you have a crawlspace in your home, or cracks in your foundation, there’s a chance radon might be seeping through and poisoning your air.
If you have high radon levels in your home, you may need to have a professional install a radon reduction system to remove it from the air. In the meantime, you can work to keep levels down by making sure your home has proper ventilation and making sure your air is circulating. It’s also a good idea to seal any cracks you have in your floor or walls with plaster or caulk so the radon can’t seep in.
5) Cigarette Smoke
We get it. We’re in North Carolina. Tobacco has been a part of our culture as far back as we can remember. We have a city sharing a name with not one, but two brands of cigarettes. But none of that changes the fact that cigarette smoke is one of the single most dangerous indoor air pollutants in your home. Cigarette smoke is made up of hundreds of chemicals, many of which are poisonous or carcinogenic. Radon might be the second-leading cause of lung cancer, but cigarette smoke takes the unfortunate top prize.
HEPA filters can help remove some smoke particulates from the air, as well as reduce the odor, but that’s only a band aid. The best way to deal with cigarette smoke as an indoor air pollutant is to not smoke, period. It’s better for you, and everyone else living in your home. But if you do smoke, at least do it outside so the smoke doesn’t linger in your home.
Let Comfort First Help You Clear Your Air
Don’t take the risk of having these pollutants in your home. There are a number of mitigation procedures you can do on your own, but if you truly want to make sure your home is protected, you’ll want the experts at Comfort First to take a look. Plus, throughout March, you can get a free disinfecting UV light with any full HVAC replacement service! Send us a message online or call us at [phone_link] for today for more info and for cleaner, fresher air in your home!