5 Common Air Quality Problems in Your House: A Room to Room Guide - RestoPros
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5 Common Air Quality Problems in Your House: A Room to Room Guide

by Resto Pros on April 19, 2019

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the top five air quality problems in the U.S. are with our indoor air. To help you counteract these pollutants, the experts at RestoPros are here to tell you about these 5 common air quality problems in your house with a room to room guide!

1. Excessive Moisture

First of all, we want to discuss the effects of excessive moisture on your home’s air quality. Although it is one of the most overlooked air quality problems, excessive moisture is also one of the most detrimental ones. As such, excessive moisture can lead to serious issues in the following rooms of your house:

  • Bathrooms

Even if you use your exhaust fans and keep your bathrooms well ventilated, moisture still tends to thrive in these areas. In bathrooms, moisture buildup occurs in towels, bath mats, shower curtains and linings, walls, floors, and ceilings. With this moisture comes mildew, mold, and dust mites, all of which pose serious threats to the air you and your family breathe.

  • Kitchen

Another area in your home that can be affected by excessive moisture is your kitchen. Because of the steam-releasing activities you do in your kitchen like running the dishwasher, cooking on the stove, and baking in the oven, the presence of moisture is a given. When these activities increase the humidity levels in the air, it facilitates off-gassing of toxins in furniture and cleaning products.

  • Laundry Room

As another area to monitor for excessive moisture, your laundry room can develop high humidity levels. Many times, laundry rooms are not as well-ventilated as they should be, allowing the heat from your dryer to meet the moist, cool air from your washer to create steam. Consequently, condensation can build up on your laundry room walls, cabinets, and windows, providing the ideal breeding ground for mold, mildew, and dust mites.

  • Basement

One of the most obvious rooms in your home that can have excessive moisture problems is the basement. As you probably know, water can be transported into your basement through leaks in the foundation, plumbing pipes, or cracks in the floor. Therefore, the air quality in your basement can easily become compromised by mold spores and mildew.

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Next on the list of common indoor air quality problems are VOCs. Including a range of evaporated substances from formaldehyde, gasoline, pesticides, and cooking processes, these harmful compounds can infiltrate your air in many forms. Furthermore, certain body odors are VOCs that can also affect your indoor air quality. Here are some rooms of your house that are likely to contain VOCs:

  • Laundry Room

As the first room on our list, your laundry room can be a hotbed for VOCs. A little-known fact about dryer and softener sheets is that they contain high levels of formaldehyde. Because this is one of the most harmful VOCs to pollute indoor air, your laundry room is at the top of our list of areas in your home with VOC-related air quality problems.  

  • Garage

Another area of your house that is a magnet for VOCs is your garage. Considering the gasoline levels emitted from your cars, stored lawn mowers, and other motor-driven equipment, the air quality in your garage can be saturated with VOCs. Furthermore, this problem is exacerbated by trapping these VOCs behind closed and sealed garage doors. Particularly if the primary door used to enter and exit your home is through the garage, these VOCs can easily infiltrate your indoor air in other areas of your home.  

  • Living Room

Third on our list is your living room. Because formaldehyde can be emitted by building materials and furnishings, your furniture and carpets can be sources of VOCs in your indoor air.

  • Kitchen

As another room with VOCs, your kitchen can be a source of cooking processes and odor-related VOCs. While there are few things more enticing than the smell of freshly baked bread, the lingering aroma indicates the presence of VOCs in your air. Other smells like the pungent odor of onions can release major VOCs into your air, as well. Additionally, using any gas-powered cooking appliances releases gasoline VOCs into your air. Furthermore, that bowl of pesticide-covered fresh fruit or plump tomatoes could be releasing VOCs into your air.

  • Bedrooms

As we previously explained, many body odors are VOCs. Therefore, body odors that are trapped on your bedding, clothes, curtains, or carpeting can be released into your air, as well. Also, if you wash and dry your bedding and clothing with standard softener and dryer sheets, you could be introducing formaldehyde into your air.

  • Bathrooms

One horrifying reality is the presence of formaldehyde in many cosmetic and beauty products. From skincare to hair-care products, a shocking number of popular brands contain varying levels of this harmful VOC. Not only does your skin absorb the formaldehyde in these products, but your indoor air also absorbs it. Also, without getting into unpleasant details, the odors released when you answer nature’s call in the bathroom are VOCs that are emitted into your air.

3. Combustion Products

Third on our list of indoor air quality problems are combustion products. Some common pollutants produced by combustion products are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and water vapor. Commonly emitted from gas-fired appliances like furnaces, water heaters, ranges, and dryers, these VOCs can be found in the air of many rooms in your house. Here are the rooms most likely to contain VOCs from combustion products:

  • Kitchen

Especially if you have gas-fired appliances or appliances that are not properly vented to the outside, the air in your kitchen can be a hub for carbon monoxide. Furthermore, if you have any unsealed gas appliances, negative air pressure can cause back drafting. Consequently, combustion pollutants can enter your house and infect your indoor air quality.

  • Laundry Room

Another room in your home that can have poorer air quality due to combustion products is your laundry room. If your dryer is gas-powered, it can produce carbon monoxide. Therefore, the air in your laundry room can become polluted with carbon monoxide if your gas dryer is not properly vented.

  • Garage and Driveway

For homes with attached garages, combustion-related VOCs can easily affect your indoor air. Because the exhaust fumes from vehicles are a major source of combustion products, your indoor air is that much more susceptible to these VOCs with an attached garage.

  • Any Space with Fireplaces, Wood Stoves, and Chimneys

Other sources of combustion products include fireplaces and chimneys. Releasing combustion gases and particles, pollutants from fireplaces or wood stoves can become back-drafted from the chimney into your living space.

  • Rooms with Unvented Kerosene and Gas Heaters

Along with your gas-powered kitchen appliances, your unvented kerosene and gas heaters can release carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into the air. Furthermore, your indoor air can be contaminated by acid aerosols from unvented kerosene heaters.

4. Radon

Although radon is fourth on our list, this pollutant poses some of the most serious threats to your indoor air quality. Because it is virtually undetectable without formal testing, this radioactive gas is an often-overlooked problem. Entering your home through dirt floors, cracks in your walls and floors, or through floor drains and sumps, radon is commonly found in higher concentrations in lower-lying rooms. However, rooms with granite surfaces can also be sources of radon, as these rocks contain radium, uranium, and thorium. If these naturally-occurring radioactive elements decay, they can turn into radon, causing a negative impact on your indoor air. Therefore, here are some rooms that could contain radon:

  • Basement

As previously explained, the rooms in your house closer to your foundation are the most vulnerable to radon exposure. Especially if your basement has cracks in the floors, walls, or ceiling, or has a floor drain or sump, radon can easily seep into your home.

  • Kitchen and Bathrooms

Other rooms in your house that can contain levels of radon are your kitchen and bathrooms. Especially if you have granite counter tops, the presence of radon in these rooms is a likely possibility.

  • Crawlspaces

Like a basement, a crawlspace beneath your house is a prime spot for radon. Because of its proximity to the soil and rocks beneath your house, a crawlspace can contain higher levels of radon. If the floors above that crawlspace have any penetrable areas, radon can rise into your home.   

5. Tobacco Smoke

Like the rest of the world, you are probably aware of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. However, the additional problem of third-hand smoke has been recently added to the many side-effects of smoking. In short, third-hand-smoke is the lingering presence of harmful tobacco toxins on furnishings, surfaces, and clothing in your home. Here are some rooms where the air is commonly affected by tobacco smoke:

  • Living Room

When a smoker enters a space after smoking, you can immediately smell smoke on their clothes, hair, and skin. Furthermore, their hands are usually stained with tobacco toxins from touching their cigarette or cigar. These toxins are transferred to any surface that smoker touches and can stay on those surfaces for years. Therefore, as the most actively used room in your house, your living room is vulnerable to third-hand smoke.

  • Bedrooms

Unfortunately, even the bedrooms of non-smokers are susceptible to tobacco smoke pollutants in the air. Because of third-hand smoke, the residual tobacco toxins you pick up from other surfaces can be transferred to your bedroom.

  • Closets

Considering how  tobacco toxins cling to fabrics, the closets in a home with a smoker are saturated with tobacco pollutants. Especially in coat closets, smoke can linger a long time on fabrics that are washed less frequently.  Consequently, this smoke is inevitably introduced into your air.  


Are You Ready to Tackle these Common Air Quality Problems in Your House?

Tackle these problems with the help of the RestoPros team! With years of helping residents and homeowners achieve clean air, the experts at RestoPros are the professionals you can trust. If you are ready to find the best clean air solutions for your home, call us today at 855-587-3786 or fill out a service request form on our website!