Three Indoor Air Pollution Sources You Are Probably Ignoring

mold growth cleveland ohAllergens are all around us. You have probably heard the saying “your indoor air quality is worse than the outside air quality”. This is due to your home being closed up which leads to air pollution becoming trapped inside. Many times I go into homes where people are sick all the year-round, especially the winter months and they want me to figure out what is making them sick.  Most of the time, the answer is clear and simple. Here are three indoor air pollution sources you are probably ignoring.

The most common is dust and dust mites. We are all busy and we know that we ignore certain things that seem less important than others. Cleaning happens to be one of them. Most people will try to keep up with what they see, but ignore those areas that they do not see or fail to see on a regular basis.  The expression is after all, “out of sight, out of mind”, right?  Dust mites live in dust that accumulates in your home. Those areas under furniture, in the corners or behind the cabinets are the most common areas. They not only live here, but they go to the bathroom there. Then, when you move around, the dust gets into the air where you breathe it in.  Not too nice to think about now, is it?

Another problem I run into frequently is rodent waste.  Most people that have rodent activity inside their home do not even realize it, the most common rodent being mice.  They get into the home looking for food and shelter. The mice are not very easy to see but the signs are evident. The easiest way to tell if you have mice is to look for feces in the rim joist or above basement ceilings. These are the most common areas. Viruses and bacteria feed on the feces. When it becomes dry, it gets airborne and we all know what that means. You are now breathing in all the viruses and bacteria that have been feeding in the rodent feces. Yummy to think about, isn’t it?

Lastly, many people have basements that are used for nothing more than storage. They rarely enter the basement for anything other than laundry or to get items stored there. When basements are not used very often (and many times when it is), people will generally not care about the condition of the air. If not properly dehumidified, mold can appear. There are more than enough things for the mold to feed on and thrive. All it needs is the moisture that does not get removed from the air. The air flow in your home rises up which leads to you breathing in the damp, musty and moldy air from below.  This is called the stack effect. The air in your basement rises up thru your home. You breathe in most of what is in your basement. Yay!

One mother told us a story when we came to her home in Cleveland, Ohio that is all to common when it comes to air quality and mold in particular.  “I knew that as my children were growing up we began to use the basement less and less frequently as a family.  They would ahve their friends over and gather down there but it was no longer Barbie’s DreamWorld.  We had had a renovation done when the children were young, around eight and five and were extremely happy with.  As a family the children’s toys were located down there, we held countless sleepovers and parties in the space and really enjoyed it as a family.  But as the kids grew up and spent less time at home we began to ignore the basement space more and more and cleaning fell on the back burner.  The toys sat down there just gathering dusty.  Last year when the kids went off to college I decided to take a look at what was really down there.  We had always had a musty smell but tried to get rid of a lot of the moisture with a dehumidifier, the kids use to empty it anytime they were down there.  As fewer trips were made to the basement the dehumidifier was emptied less and became less effective which led to my discovery of the mold on several of my children’s toys, the workout equipment and the heaters that had been covered up by stuff over time.  I knew I had a problem and needed to call someone to fix it as soon as possible.”

If you are unsure if there is a problem in your home, it is best to contact a professional that is trained to find these pollutants. If you or anyone in your household are getting sick frequently, there may be a source you are not seeing.