Reducing Indoor Air Pollution
Three basic ways below can help us reduce pollutant concentrations in indoor air are source control, ventilation, and air cleaning.
- Source control eliminates individual sources of pollutants or reduces their emission. It is usually the most effective way to reduce pollutants. There are many sources of pollutants in your home that can be controlled or removed. For example, solid wood or alternative materials can be used to replace pressed wood products that are likely to be significant danger sources of formaldehyde. Smokers can smoke outdoors. Burning or heating devices can be adjusted to decrease their emissions.
Here are eight sources of indoor air pollution that might surprise you.
- Air Fresheners
- Dryer Sheets
- Cleaning Products
- Kitchen Stove
- Ventilation is also a good way to decrease indoor air pollutant concentrations. It make the air move between the inside and outside of a building. The introduction of outdoor air is important for good air quality. In a process known as infiltration, outdoor air flows into your house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors. Natural ventilation describes air movement through open windows and doors. Most residential forced air heating systems and air conditioning systems do not bring outdoor air into the house mechanically. Two primary ventilation methods can be used in most homes: general ventilation and local ventilation.
- General ventilation of the living space, by way of infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, brings outdoor air indoors, circulates air throughout the home, and exhausts polluted air outdoors. Although limited by weather conditions, this method removes or dilutes indoor airborne pollutants, thereby reducing the level of contaminants and improving indoor air quality (IAQ). Special consideration should be given to the outdoor air used for ventilation. It should be of acceptable quality and should not contain pollutants in quantities that would be considered objectionable or harmful if introduced indoors. The use of ventilation to reduce indoor air pollutants should be evaluated carefully where there may be outdoor sources of pollutants.
- Localized ventilation by means of exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and in some cases by open windows and doors, removes excess moisture and strong, local pollutants and keeps them from spreading to other areas. Using exhaust fans increases the amount of outdoor air that enters a house. Advanced designs for new homes are starting to add a mechanical feature that brings outdoor air into the home through the HVAC system. Some of these designs include energy efficient heat recovery ventilators to mitigate the cost of cooling and heating this air during the summer and winter.
- And the last way is “air cleaning” may be useful when used along with source control and ventilation below, but it is not a substitute for either method. Using air cleaners alone cannot ensure indoor air quality is good, especially where significant sources are exist in your house and ventilation is insufficient. While air cleaning may help control the levels of airborne particles including those associated with allergens and, in some cases, gaseous pollutants in a home, air cleaning may not decrease adverse health effects from indoor air pollutants.
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution now to Improve Indoor Air Quality