Often, people think they should stay inside to avoid air pollution. However, some of the worst air pollution people experience is indoors. The concentration of pollutants is up to five times higher indoors than it is outdoors. And some of your favorite rooms are the biggest culprits. Here are the five rooms with the worst indoor air quality.
Around the world, open cooking fires or stoves fueled by dirty-burning fuels, such as kerosene, coal, and biomass (like wood and animal dung), account for close to four million deaths each year. While most of us in Albuquerque and Santa Fe don’t prepare food this way, our common cooking methods can cause indoor air pollution. Natural gas and propane-powered stoves release extra carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other toxins. The cooking process also pollutes the air. Heating oil and fat at high temperatures can release particles into the air. The effects can range from simple nose and throat irritation to more serious concerns such as headaches, fatigue, and nausea.
Your bathroom may be a place to soak in the tub and take long, relaxing showers. However, soaking and steaming creates a hot, humid place where mold flourishes. Mold exposure can cause temporary symptoms such as a runny nose, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. Some molds can produce mycotoxins, which cause more severe and lasting ailments.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more Americans have been working from home. Two years later, 25% to 35% of the American workforce is working from home. During this time, many workers had to set up home offices with desks, chairs, bookshelves, and other furniture. Unfortunately, pressed wood, which is often used in home furniture, is one of the most significant sources of formaldehyde. Especially when it’s new, the furniture can emit gasses, which causes this room to have the worst indoor air quality. A fresh coat of paint, which contains volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), can worsen this problem.
Bedrooms are places of refuge; however, they’re also one of the rooms with the worst indoor air pollution. The reasons are twofold: Air pollutants such as human and pet dander, dust (aka dead skin cells) and their followers dust mites, tend to collect in bedrooms. Secondly, bedrooms are typically not well ventilated, so carbon dioxide accumulates.
Attic and Basement
Although most homes in Albuquerque and Santa Fe don’t have attics and basements, these spaces account for some of the worst air pollution. The cause? Exposed insulation that releases particles of fiberglass into the air. Doing so may cause eye, skin, nose, and/or throat irritation, as well as itching, coughing, and wheezing. People with asthma or respiratory issues may experience more severe effects. If your home was built prior to 1980, there may be asbestos present, which is a proven carcinogenic and requires professional removal.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
In many cases, properly ventilating your home will help reduce indoor air pollution. Optimized and well-maintained HVAC systems will move air through your home and keeping the air fresh and healthy. Additionally, UV air filters can cleanse the air in your home by removing airborne pathogens and microorganisms, including mold, bacteria, and viruses.
How can Aztec Mechanical help?
As full-service HVAC experts for home and commercial properties, as well as property managers, Aztec Mechanical can advise you on the best system for your structure to optimize ventilation and air flow.
As local experts, we know that what works in Albuquerque may not work in Santa Fe and vice versa. It’s all part of how we help you keep your home or business comfortable. Contact us to get started today.