5 Common Household Products That Pollute Your Home’s Air

Many pollutants such as pesticides and greenhouse gases lurk around outside, but did you know that a variety of common household products may be polluting your environment? Read on to learn about five household products that could be contributing to poor indoor air quality inside your home.

1. Cleaning Products

You work hard on a regular basis to maintain a clean and tidy home, but many types of household cleaning products may be packed with harmful VOCs. When directly inhaled, products containing high amounts of VOCs can be harmful. Beyond their immediate effects, VOC-containing products can react with other chemicals in the air, making it difficult to breathe. They can also contribute to allergic reactions and headaches.

You may enjoy the smell of certain cleaning products like furniture and floor polish, oven cleaners, dishwashing and detergent liquids and other cleaners. However, to prevent the release of harmful airborne particles, consider opting for natural cleaning products. Alternatively, you can make your own cleaning products using inexpensive ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and water.

2. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

Many air fresheners and scented candles contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, headaches and breathing issues. While these products offer a simple way to cover up unpleasant smells that may be lurking inside your house, they may also be polluting your indoor air. In fact, some candles also emit harmful formaldehyde.

Rather than depending on air fresheners or candles to create a pleasant-smelling environment, consider using natural products that achieve the same effect. For example, look for soy or beeswax candle options that contain fragrant essential oils. As an alternative to purchasing potentially harmful air fresheners, consider opening a window or running the fan to clear out unpleasant odors.

3. Wood-Burning Fireplaces

You may enjoy the feeling of lighting a fire during chilly fall or winter weather to create a warm and cozy environment inside your home. However, wood-burning fireplaces can quickly muck up your indoor air. Burning wood and discarding the ash afterward can contribute to high amounts of carbon monoxide exposure and particulate pollution within your residence. The size of the room and how well it’s ventilated are contributing factors to how much your fireplace may be polluting your household.

As an alternative to using a wood-burning fireplace to heat your property, consider shifting to a different heating method such as electric or geothermal heat pumps. Also, try to avoid burning wood outside, especially during days where pollution levels are particularly high.

4. Paint

If you’ve recently touched up a few walls with paint, you may be tempted to store near-empty paint cans in your garage. Unfortunately, paint and paint cans can cause issues with indoor and outdoor air quality. Paint can also emit volatile organic compound gases that could negatively impact your breathing. Rather than storing empty paint cans in your garage, immediately dispose of the cans as quickly as possible. Remember to follow your city’s safety disposal guidelines, too. You may want to consider purchasing low-VOC paints for less air pollution.

5. Dirty Air Filters

Your air filters are designed to protect your air conditioner from accumulating dust, pollen and other particles. If you neglect to change your air filters regularly, the end result could be increased energy consumption and poor indoor air quality. When your filters aren’t replaced as recommended, contaminants could circulate through your HVAC system and infiltrate your home. Common problems associated with dirty or clogged air filters include:

  • Increased risk of breathing difficulty
  • Increased amount of dust accumulation
  • Frequent allergy attacks
  • Irritation of the eyes, throat, or nasal passages

One of the most important tasks of regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system is to check and replace your air filters as needed. To ensure good indoor air quality, make sure you change your air filters at least once every three months. Clean filters allow for optimum airflow, which helps to promote the freshest indoor air for you and your family.

Everyday household items you may be using inside your home on a regular basis could be polluting your air. If you’re looking to improve the health and comfort of your residence, contact the indoor air quality specialists at General Heating & Air Conditioning in Monrovia today. We’re committed to providing you with the most practical and cost-effective services for your heating or cooling system. Rely on us for repair work, planned maintenance, attic insulation and more.