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7 Common Indoor Air Pollutants and What to Do About Them in Alexandria, VA

The air inside your home can be more polluted than the outdoor air. Indoor pollutants are responsible for causing potentially harmful health conditions like asthma, allergies and lung disease. Here are seven common indoor air pollutants and what to do about them in Alexandria, VA:

Excess Water Vapor

Moisture in the air can come from many sources. Excess moisture in the air can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and affect how well you can breathe by causing a runny nose, itchy throat or coughing. You may find biological growth in damp environments, particularly in bathrooms and basements, that are prone to high relative humidity.

You can help reduce water vapor levels by using exhaust fans or whole-house dehumidifiers to keep moisture levels down. Dehumidifiers can be especially useful in areas like the basement or bathroom, especially during the summer when outdoor temperatures are higher.

Biological Pollutants

You may find biological pollutants indoors in carpet, upholstery, air ducts and dust. These pollutants can cause allergic reactions such as eye and respiratory problems. They may also cause infections and trigger allergies.

To reduce biological pollutants, remove sources of moisture and fix any leaks that you may have. Remove carpets and carpet padding to clean them or replace them. Clean upholstery and furniture often.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

The incomplete burning of fuels, such as kerosene and wood, produces carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odorous, toxic and less soluble in water, which tends to accumulate. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea.

Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, install a CO detector in your house or apartment. You should also make sure that you have properly functioning gas appliances. Don’t use grills or other open flames inside your home.


Pesticides mainly affect people who are directly exposed. Some pesticides, such as organophosphates and pyrethroids, can linger in the air for a long time after spraying. These pesticides can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and muscle spasms.

You can lower the level of pesticides in your home by using alternatives. Try mechanical methods to control pests like ants or cockroaches, such as traps or water-and-soap mixtures. If you expose yourself to pesticides, you should wash thoroughly try to remove any pesticides that touch your skin and contact your doctor.


Radon is a gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. Soil, sub-slab and water can all release radon into the air. Inhaling radon can cause lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. While radon is odorless, it can pose a serious health risk.

You can lower radon risk by installing air cleaners that remove radon from the air. Air conditioning systems, properly installed and maintained, can also reduce the amount of radon in your home. At Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Alexandria, VA, we are experts in AC repair and installation, and we can help you optimize the system in your home.

Wood Smoke

Wood smoke irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. It can cause symptoms like coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Wood smoke can also irritate the skin and is a known allergen.

To lower the amount of wood smoke in your home, use electric or gas heating instead of wood stoves. Keep your fireplace screened and open only when you’re using it. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that evaporate easily from liquids like paints and cleaning supplies. Inhaling VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. It can also irritate your lungs, causing chest pain or difficulty breathing.

You can lower the amount of VOCs in your home by putting cotton balls in your windows to filter out dirty air. You can also use fans or large exhaust fans to draw out VOCs. Properly ventilating your home can also help.

Indoor pollutants are responsible for causing potentially harmful health effects like asthma, allergies and lung disease. It’s essential to deal with these pollutants to keep your health in good condition. Contact us at Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning for indoor air quality services and any help you need to manage your home’s indoor environment.

Image provided by iStock

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