The winter can be a bad time for the quality of the air inside a home. People usually think of spring as the worst season when it comes to allergies and asthma, but winter offers some major challenges. Because homes are closed off as much as possible against the outside weather so that they can remain comfortable and energy efficient, the concentration of contaminants can begin to accumulate over the season. We’re often so concerned about the pollutants outside our homes that we forget how many are already inside our homes. Below is a list of some of the most harmful ones:
- Dust mites: These small, insect-like creatures aren’t parasitic, but they’re a major trigger of allergies and asthma. Dust mites occur naturally and can be found in almost any home, no matter how clean.
- Carbon monoxide: A colorless and odorless gas that’s a byproduct of the combustion of various fuels. It can originate in a home from furnaces, gas stoves and water heaters, fireplaces, and exhaust fumes from a car (an issue for a house with an attached garage).
- Volatile organize compounds (VOCs): This covers a wide range of harmful gases that enter the air from household products or processes. Some sources that might be found inside your house are paint, paint remover, office equipment, pesticides, household cleaning products, hobby products, and cosmetics.
- Formaldehyde: The most common of the VOCs found in homes, formaldehyde can cause a variety of respiratory problems. It can even damage the copper pipes in your plumbing system or air conditioner.
- Asbestos: Fibrous minerals used as a fire-retardant. Asbestos is no longer commonly used in homes, but it tends to linger for years and can cause breathing problems as well as cancer.
There are a number of specials filters and cleaners that you can have installed in your home that will remove these pollutants, although you’ll need to contact a specialist to find the right types that will match your home’s specific needs.