When you close those windows to keep your home warmer, the indoor air quality may suffer. Lack of ventilation concentrates the indoor air. These five chemicals can decrease your air quality and cause short- and long-term health problems:
- Pesticides. These are among the most common toxic products found in homes and may cause neurological and physical damage. People can track pesticides indoors on their feet or from particles that cling to clothing. Choose natural products over chemical sprays, liquids or powders. Once you apply a pesticide in your home, ventilate the area thoroughly.
- Benzene. A known carcinogen, benzene is used in painting products, including some strippers. It’s also a byproduct of tobacco smoke, so prohibiting smoking inside your home will reduce this risk. Using paint products indoors only when you can open the windows or doors to improve indoor air quality. If you have to paint indoors in the winter, run your ventilating fans to remove the fumes.
- Formaldehyde. The most common source of this chemical is new pressed wood furniture and cabinetry. Formaldehyde may be a carcinogen and it can trigger asthma attacks. Over time, formaldehyde dissipates, and heat accelerates the evaporation process.
- Asbestos. If you live in an older home, the insulation and hard surface flooring may contain this hazardous material. Asbestos is one of the most dangerous materials for your lungs. If you plan to remodel an older home, talk to a licensed contractor before you disturb or remove products that may contain it.
- Combustion products. Wood stoves and gas appliances can emit carbon monoxide (CO), a highly toxic gas. CO is invisible and has no odor. CO poisoning can be fatal. The best way to reduce the risk is to install CO detectors and have heating systems professionally cleaned and adjusted annually.
Special filters for your HVAC equipment, ventilation systems, air cleaners and exhaust fans help mitigate the hazards associated with indoor air quality problems. If you’d like to learn more about improving the air you breathe, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Portland area since 1976.