5 Factors That Affect Air Quality

Rose Morrison

Feb 12, 2021

factory with pollution

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Indoor air quality can impact health and well-being. There are many factors that affect air quality that come from different pollutants in the world, including man-made as well as naturally occurring issues with allergies and wildfires. When you’re inside your home, you expect to be safe from the dangers of the outside world.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), outdoor air contaminants include things such as pollen, industrial pollutants and emissions. Indoor sources come from cleaning products, HVAC systems and building materials or furnishings. 

There are five main factors that affect air quality in a home or office building. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to improve things no matter what the source. 

1. Radon

Naturally occurring gases can wreak havoc on your health, such as having an abundance of radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that comes from decay natural products. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. You can live with radon for years without realizing the impact on your health.

Invest in a radon alarm, available at many home improvement stores. If the levels reach a dangerous point, the alarm sounds and you can take measures to reduce the gas and protect your family. 

2. Outdoor Pollution

Unfortunately, you have little control over the industry and emissions around your home or office. If you live in a congested area with a lot of traffic, it might be next to impossible to open a window and let in fresh air. 

While you can’t control what others do, you can improve the quality of air in your home with dehumidifiers to reduce mold growth and high quality filters for your heating and cooling system. 

3. Pollen

For those who suffer from asthma or allergies, high pollen counts are a nightmare. The last thing you want to do is open windows and exacerbate the problem. There are a few things you can do to help during high allergy days.

Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible and keep the fans on your home running continuously. Use a HEPA filter to get the smaller particles. 

4. Cleaning Supplies

Another one of the factors that affect air quality is cleaning supplies. You can easily pollute your indoor air quality by cleaning with harsh chemicals. Over time, the air grows more and more contaminated as you ingest various products. Some things even create serious breathing issues when mixed together. Bleach is a product that shouldn’t be mixed with other things as it can create poisonous fumes. 

Opt for natural cleaning products whenever possible. There are many options on the market today, but you can also use old favorites such as vinegar and baking soda.

5. Building Materials and Furnishings

Some building materials and furnishings give off formaldehyde emissions and can make sensitive individuals ill. The internet is filled with stories of people unable to live in their new homes due to the flooring giving off fumes that make them ill or cabinets that won’t stop gifting pollution.

If you are building a house new, it’s easy to choose green products and seek out things without harmful chemicals and made locally. However, if you buy an existing structure and run into this issue, you may need to remodel to get rid of the fumes.

Common culprits include flooring, such as carpet and laminate, kitchen cabinets and drywall. Start with the least invasive replacement and go from there. You may even want to call in an expert and have them survey the situation to figure out which items are creating issues for you.

Combat the Factors that Affect Air Quality

There are things you can do to combat the factors that affect air quality. If you live in an area where there isn’t high pollen or pollution, you should throw open your windows on nice days and create a gentle cross-breeze. If the air isn’t moving, place fans at opposite sides of the house, with one pointing out the window and the other inside the house. This will pull air in one direction and shoot it out the other, freshening everything in your home.

Simple changes such as swapping out filters regularly and keeping the air dryer all help to improve your air quality and make it easier to breathe. Small changes make a big impact when it comes to your health.

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