Poor Indoor Air Quality

What Are the Biggest Threats to Indoor Air Quality in Smithsburg, MD?

March 20, 2022

Poor air quality in your Smithsburg, MD, house can cause short- or long-term effects. The fact that you don’t see or feel any signs of ill health doesn’t mean that particulates and other pollutants are harmless. Here are the main threats to your indoor air quality:


Particulates are small particles that are 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter. Common particulates that affect your indoor air quality include pollen, dust and pet dander. Over time, these particulates accumulate in your home’s air ducts, and they spread all over as the HVAC system runs and circulates conditioned air.

These particles come from construction sites, fields, fires and unpaved roads, among other sources. Others, such as sulfur dioxide, are from the atmosphere as a result of chemical reactions with chemicals released from industrial sites and automobiles.

Because of their small size, it’s possible to inhale the particles. They can go deep down into the lungs, and the smallest can go into your bloodstream and cause severe health effects. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma or allergies, will feel the effects of these particulates more.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Also known as VOCs, these compounds may come from cleaning products, perfumes, paint fumes and the smoke from cookers. They typically come in the form of smoke, vapors and odors. The household product odors might be common, and most homeowners may not see a problem with them, but they’re toxic, especially after a long period of exposure.

According to the American Lung Association, VOCs can irritate your nose, throat and eyes and cause breathing difficulties and nausea. They also have an effect on the central nervous system and on other organs in your body. Some types of VOCs can even cause cancer. To keep your home safe from these compounds:

  • Use products with low VOCs.

  • Reduce your need for products with VOCs.

  • Dispose of unused products with VOCs properly.

  • Don’t smoke while in the house.

Biological Contaminants

Biological pollutants include bacteria, viruses, cat saliva, mites, pollen and cockroaches. These pollutants can stem from sources such as pets, plants, debris, pests and rodents. The air handling unit in your home can be a breeding ground for pests and rodents and can also provide the necessary conditions for the growth of microbial.

You can minimize the growth of some of the biological contaminants by reducing the relative humidity in a home. Maintaining relative humidity of between 30% and 50% is acceptable. Ensure there is no stagnant water or wet surfaces as this propagates the growth of most of the biological contaminants.

If inhaled, biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions and asthma. They can also cause infectious illnesses such as measles, chickenpox and influenza. Some signs of biological contaminants in the home include watery eyes, dizziness, fever, lethargy, shortness of breath, sneezing and digestive problems.

Who Corrects Poor Indoor Quality Issues?

An HVAC service technician can help you correct any challenges you have with indoor air quality. Failure to fix poor indoor air quality issues can lead to HVAC inefficiency, high utility bills and long-term illnesses.

With time, the particulates and debris accumulate in the air ducts and vents, making the filter and the walls of the ducts dirty. This reduces airflow, making the HVAC system work harder to supply conditioned air in the home. When that happens, you’ll see an increase in utility bills, and your HVAC system may break down often.

Further, prolonged exposure to the pollutants, such as VOCs, may result in long-term illnesses where one experiences frequent headaches and coughing or possibly develop cancer. You can correct these poor indoor quality issues through proper ventilation, cleanliness in your home and routine HVAC system maintenance.

Our HVAC service technician can help you assess the quality of your home’s air and recommend the right solutions. Call Hagerstown Heating & Cooling for HVAC installation, repair, maintenance and indoor air quality services in Smithsburg, MD.

Image provided by iStock

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