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What Are the Main Sources of Indoor Air Pollution? 

What Are the Main Sources of Indoor Air Pollution?
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Indoor air pollution can cause allergies, asthma, and more. With so many pollutants coming into your home or workplace, indoor air quality is a common health concern. If you’re suffering from any respiratory symptoms, colds, or allergies, indoor air pollutants could be to blame.

In order to know how to fix them, you need to know what are the main sources of indoor air pollution. This guide has the answers to all of your air quality questions. From mold to pesticides, and tobacco, we’ve rounded up some of the most common indoor air pollution sources.

Heating and Cooling Systems

One of the first things you should check if you have concerns over indoor air pollution is your HVAC system. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of damage if it’s left for too long. If your HVAC system isn’t properly installed or maintained, it could lead to a number of air quality issues.

Dirty air filters could spread bacteria, dust, and other common allergens throughout your home. If the system has to work in overdrive, you’ll be wasting money on excessive heating and cooling as well. This can also lead to too much moisture in the air.

If you suspect the source of dust, allergens, and mold is your HVAC system, have it properly checked and maintained. You’ll start to notice uneven heating and cooling, overuse, and extreme temperature changes.

Building Materials

If you’ve recently started experiencing allergies, trouble breathing, or other respiratory discomforts, a home remodel could be the cause. Demolition, construction, or large-scale cleaning can cause debris to circulate into your air and ductwork.

When construction takes place, dirt, debris, and building materials can get kicked into your HVAC system and circulated around your home. It’s important to properly ventilate construction work while it’s in progress. If you’re experiencing a lot of painful symptoms, you should consider leaving until the work is completed.

After a construction project, have your HVAC system cleaned and serviced. Allow for plenty of ventilation and fresh air during construction as well before moving back into the home.

Too Much Moisture

Mold can cause a number of risky health complications. If your home has too much moisture, this can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to mold growth. Mold can grow near air conditioning units, bathrooms, kitchens, and anywhere water accumulates.

Mold is also one of the most common causes of indoor air pollution. If you’re having issues with breathing or feeling sick in your home, call a professional to remediate the mold. If mold is suspected you may need professional help to remove it safely and completely.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Outdoor air naturally finds its way into your home or office. Outdoor air can also bring in a number of exterior pollutions. Carbon monoxide, car exhaust, building debris, dirt, dust, and dander can creep into your windows and doors.

When outdoor air pollution comes into your home, and it’s causing health problems, take a look at your environment. Mixing fresh air into your home should be a good thing. If it’s causing health concerns, there could be a serious environmental problem near you.

Radon and Asbestos

Before you buy a home, you always want to have a proper home inspection completed. Your inspector will test for both radon and asbestos. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer.

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that forms from uranium breaking down in the soil. Your home can act as a vacuum bringing radon gas inside if it’s present.

Asbestos is an installation material that was commonly used in home construction before 1980. This installation is heat and fire-resistant and made up of fibers. The fibers can be inhaled and stick to tissues in the body. This can cause respiratory issues and even cancer.

Tobacco Products

Tobacco is one of the biggest pollutants when it comes to indoor air quality. Not only does tobacco smoke contain deadly carcinogens but it also contaminates the air you breathe and live in. Cigarette smoke can stick to clothing, fabric, furniture, and carpet fibers.

Even if you smoke near a window in your home away from other people, smoke will still find its way into your vents and HVAC system. Secondhand smoke is just as dangerous and deadly as smoking a cigarette yourself.

If you or someone in your household is a regular smoker, you can suffer from several air quality issues. You may experience shortness of breath, coughing, difficulty breathing, and allergy-like symptoms.


Pesticides are found everywhere. Whether you’re using them in your own backyard or tracking them inside on your feet, these chemicals are hard to get away from. To limit your exposure, consider using more natural options outdoors to treat pests.

Inside, keep your home clean and avoid leaving food on counters or in open containers. If pests and critters don’t have a food source, they likely won’t congregate near your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 75 percent of households in the United States use some form of a pesticide product. 

Pesticides can be anything from household disinfectants to insecticides. While many are used outdoors, there have been measurable levels found in the air inside the home. Soil containing pesticides can also easily be tracked in through shoes or the air.

What Are the Main Sources of Indoor Air Pollution?

When it comes to what are the main sources of indoor air pollution, there can be several answers. From household cleaners to mold, any number of everyday products and natural substances can seep into your home and the air you breathe. If you’re having respiratory issues, trouble breathing, or concerns over the quality of your air, it’s time to take action.

Start by having a professional inspect and clean your HVAC system, air filters, and ductwork. Look at your cleaning products both indoors and outdoors as well. If you suspect mold, radon, or asbestos, have your home inspected. For more helpful guides and resources, visit the health section to learn more.

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