With Covid-19 floating in the air, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces has been top-of-mind for many of us, but indoor pollutants can also have varying effects on your health as well.
The combination of closed spaces and forced heat and air from your HVAC systems do cause indoor air pollutants to build up in your home during the winter months. These pollutants have varying effects on your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and your health. Obviously, you don’t want to be breathing harmful pollutants in your home at any time of the year – but does airing it out actually make a difference to the health of your home and air?
Common indoor air pollutants that can be aggravated and elevated over the winter months:
Volatile Organic Compounds: Closed windows result in a build-up of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) associated with things we use every day, like air fresheners, beauty products, and household cleaners. These are the unhealthy toxins in the air we can’t see and don’t often think about. Clothes and upholstery can release VOCs from dry cleaning processes. Standard building materials, including insulation, carpet, and cabinetry can also off-gas VOCs that build up in an unventilated home or apartment.
Smoke: Wintertime increases exposure to indoor toxins like CO2 from combustible sources like wood-burning and gas fireplaces, gas stoves, and off-gassing from oil, kerosene, and candles. Many commercial candles are made with wax, wicks and synthetic oils and dyes that can release dangerous carcinogenic gas when they burn.
Dust Mites and Pet Dander: Stale and unventilated rooms can build up an allergy-inducing amount of pet dander and dust mites. Dust mites are the most common allergy and asthma symptom trigger. They thrive in winter conditions when enclosed spaces are kept warm and build up humidity from a lack of ventilation.
Mold: Here in the Pacific Northwest, a wet winter outdoors, and overly warm moist air trapped inside from kitchens and bathrooms creates the perfect environment for mold growth – a significant health hazard. Mold proliferates in humid, dark spaces, such as basements, attics, and wet building materials.
Molds can cause allergic reactions, and in some cases, off-gas potentially toxic substances called Mycotoxins. Some individuals or those with compromised immune systems can be particularly sensitive to molds.
Mold exposure can trigger a wide range of reactions including:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Rash or hives
- Development of childhood asthma, COPD, and developmental disorders in exposed children
Spring is a great time to clean, disinfect and get an IAQ test!
Concerned about your surfaces being clean and disinfected? Certified can test your surfaces and fog to disinfect hard to reach areas and ensure airborne pathogens are removed.
Want to know what is really going on with air quality in your home? A quick and thorough Indoor Air Quality Test and consultation from Certified Indoor Environmental (CIE) can help you identify sources of pollution and provide you with a plan to reduce toxins through cleanup, proper ventilation, and appropriate air filtering technologies.
How CIE helps you identify potential toxins and can take care of mold:
- Start with our comprehensive Interior Inspection & Indoor Air Quality Testing
- If mold is detected, CIE will go to the source, correcting moisture levels and removing mold (not encapsulating it) from the structure
- CIE finishes with a 5-year warranty against future mold growth