Are you concerned about the air quality inside your Kernersville, NC, home? Read on to discover the various pollutants that exist within your home, how they affect indoor air quality and steps you can take to improve the situation.

1. Carpet Fumes

It’s likely that your carpeting is emitting contaminants into your home’s air. This is called off-gassing, and it occurs when a carpet’s glue and vinyl backing release chemicals. While off-gassing typically happens with new carpeting, these pollutants can affect indoor air quality for up to five years.

You and your family may notice the following conditions after being exposed to off-gassing:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Asthma
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath

Children are particularly at risk to chemicals in carpets because they spend a lot of time playing near the carpeting’s surface. Kids who already suffer from allergies or asthma may notice the most symptoms.

Although these chemicals can last up to five years, most of the off-gassing process occurs during the first several months after installation. One of the best ways to combat this process is to heavily ventilate your home for three days after your carpet is installed. If you would like to avoid this scenario entirely, consider outfitting your home with hardwood floors instead.

2. Excess Moisture

Moisture isn’t commonly considered as a threat to indoor air quality. However, it’s actually one of the leading causes of indoor pollutants. Excess moisture occurs when warm air meets a colder surface such as a window, wall or mirror.

Biological growth, spores and dust mites result where areas of excess moisture exist. These all factor into allergy and asthma symptoms. You can also be exposed to the off-gassing of chemicals from cleaning products and furniture.

Pay attention to the humidity levels inside your home. Humidity will typically increase when your HVAC system is on its last legs. That’s when you might want to consider installing a more efficient system.

3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are hazardous gases emitted into the air, and they are surprisingly prevalent inside many homes. These gases are often released from draperies, furniture, fabric, glue, particleboard or foam insulation. Other sources include the burning of:

  • Kerosene
  • Wood
  • Gas
  • Tobacco

VOCs also get released into your home’s atmosphere from paints, cleaning agents, hair sprays, varnishes, perfumes, hobby supplies and lacquers. Health concerns from VOC exposure include nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, skin issues and nausea. If you’re exposed to these chemicals in high enough concentrations, then damage to lungs, kidneys and livers is also possible.

4. Chemicals in Nonstick Pans

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a dangerous chemical that was found to be in nonstick pots and pans and linked to thyroid, kidney, bladder, ovarian and prostate cancers. The EPA has worked with manufacturers to eliminate PFOA from newly manufactured pans.

Dangers still persist with nonstick cookware because heating them over 500 degrees Fahrenheit releases toxic chemicals. These fumes have been shown to cause people to come down with what’s known as “Teflon flu.”

5. Gas Stoves

Gas ranges and ovens appliances emit nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and even small doses of formaldehyde. This can be especially troublesome during the winter months when your home is closed up for long periods of time. Solutions include opening your home up when cooking and using the stove’s ventilation hood.

6. Secondhand Smoke

If your home includes a smoker and children, then you probably already know that secondhand smoke has negative effects on kids. Children are more likely than adults to suffer from asthma, infections and respiratory problems when exposed to smoking. Exposed adults are still at risk for stroke, heart disease and lung cancer.

What can you do about these varied issues that cause a deterioration of your home’s indoor quality? Regular HVAC maintenance is one of the most effective solutions because your indoor air is circulated by your HVAC system.

If your family is suffering from breathing difficulties due to VOCs, new carpeting or moisture issues, then we encourage you to contact one of our friendly Air Treatment representatives in Winston-Salem, NC. We’ll schedule a time to evaluate your home’s indoor air quality and walk you through the installation services and air-filtration products that can improve it.

Image provided by iStock

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