How Can Poor Air Quality in Your Home Harm You?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

How Can Poor Air Quality in Your Home Harm You?

How Can Poor Air Quality in Your Home Harm You?

We spend a lot of time, perhaps too much time, indoors. We often spend 90-100% of a day indoors. So it’s not a surprise indoor air pollutants or poor air quality has more of an impact on our health than the outdoor environment.

What are the symptoms you or your family members are being harmed by contaminants? Some of these can be helped by proper HVAC systems and maintenance. At the same time, some don’t have anything to do with vents, ducts, heating, or air. Some are very much man-made pollutants that can cause health problems.

Problems from Poor Indoor Air Quality

Symptoms of being in buildings, homes or settings with bad indoor air quality may or may not subside once the indoor environment improves or once the person isn’t in the same building. Children and seniors, because they tend to spend the most time indoors for long periods of time, are more likely to have these symptoms. People with heart and lung conditions, or immune system health problems, are also more susceptible to air quality-related problems.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Inflammation of the eyes, nose, or throat
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Worsening of asthma
  • Symptoms of asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, or humidifier fever after exposure
  • Chronic long-term problems such as cardiovascular disease, breathing illness, or cancer.

Possible Illnesses from Poor Indoor Air Quality


Poor indoor air can cause symptoms of the common cold or flu. These symptoms include red eyes, drippy nose, sneezing, coughing, dizziness and tiredness. These symptoms are typically treatable but can make anyone feel awful.

Signs and symptoms of a cold may come up while and after someone is exposed to particular airborne pollutants. It can be worse if the exposure is repeated, for long spans of time and/or depending on the concentration of the contaminant material. Organic impurities such as dust, plant pollen, bacteria, viruses, and bugs thrive and spread rapidly in tight, enclosed indoor spaces with limited air circulation. Factors such as higher humidity or the presence of mold can increase the growth of the contaminant and the harm they do to humans in a short period of time.


If you, a family member, or a friend has asthma, you quite likely know how poor indoor air increases the likelihood of asthmatic symptoms. These symptoms are breathing difficulty, coughing, wheezing, and internal tightness. These symptoms can get worse. They are likely to worsen in spaces with poor air, bad contaminants, mold or bad odors. Asthma can force someone to miss work or school, be hospitalized, or result in a medical emergency.

Asthma attacks can take place during or right after exposure to polluted air. This goes for indoor or outdoor environments.

Airborne contaminants or particles, ozone, and endotoxins are some of the usual causes of asthma symptoms indoors. Ozone is created when the sunshine makes contact with specific air contaminants. It can activate asthma by irritating a person’s respiratory tract and lungs.

Endotoxins are contaminants that originate from bacteria in the dirt, so they’re virtually all over outdoors. People, animals, parasites, and outdoor air can carry these unsafe materials into your home.

What Causes Indoor Air Quality Problems?
What Causes Indoor Air Quality Problems?

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD is one of the most frequent long-term health conditions that can result from breathing indoor air toxins. This lung illness resembles asthma because it forces shortness of breath and more respiratory problems. More symptoms include chronic coughing, fatigue, weight loss, swelling of legs and feet, and increased likelihood of infections.

The aspects that trigger COPD symptoms vary from person to person. Individuals with COPD are normally a lot more sensitive to contaminated interior air and poor air quality. A few of the indoor pollutants that are most dangerous are pollen, pet dander, mites, flammable contaminants, asbestos, radon, and secondhand smoke.

Lung Cancer

Lengthy direct exposure to bad indoor air raises the likelihood of lung cancer. Several kinds of pollutants contribute to this problem. Radon and secondhand smoke are two of the worst causes of lung cancer. Radon is a contaminated gas that is produced in the dirt. It can enter your house through openings and cracks in surfaces and floors that are in contact with the ground.

Heart Disease

Besides causing damage to your breathing system, indoor air pollution can likewise have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system. It can harm blood flow, cause embolisms and hurt your heart. Heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks are more likely.

Dirt, soot, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide in your indoor air can elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Your HVAC system does more than just keep your home comfy; it needs to improve your indoor air quality. When it’s correctly maintained, it can add to much better air quality by filtering the air going through the system from outside the building to inside. It also keeps a proper temperature and a safe, steady humidity level. It’s vital to service your heating and air systems on a regular basis.

What Causes Indoor Air Quality Problems?

Poor Air Flow

Old or new homes can have airflow issues. If the airflow is poor, no or little air exchange occurs through the HVAC system. Contaminants can develop and worsen inside the house. There are many ways air flows in a structure, from seepage to natural airflow, and mechanical air flow. Each of these ways can affect air quality positively or negatively in a home.

Cigarette smoke

Tobacco smoke is a significant interior air toxin having over 200 well-known toxins including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Tobacco smoke contains at least 60 chemicals recognized to increase the chances of cancer.

Combustion contaminants

Contaminants from gas-burning appliances such as ranges, hot water heaters, heating systems, and fireplaces, along with any other items burning gas, oil, coal, wood, or various other fuel or materials, can release hazardous gases if not effectively installed and vented.

Organic vapors

– Some substances called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are in lots of household items and products you might not realize. VOCs include formaldehyde, generally found in bonding agents, and different chemicals located in household cleaners, personal care items, paints and solvents, sprays, and more.

Biological pollutants

Germs, bacteria, mold, mildew, pet dander, pet saliva, dust mites, bug debris, and plant pollen can harm indoor air quality. Having a clean house and your HVAC system’s humidity level are important roles to counter these problems.

At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

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