Home About BlogArizona.com Contact Us  |  Advertise on BlogArizona.com  |  Login

BlogArizona.com - the ORIGINAL Arizona Real Estate Blog

      Everything Arizona...
               Everything Real Estate...
                        Everything in between...
BlogArizona.com - the ORIGINAL Arizona Real Estate Blog
BlogArizona.com offers discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but focuses on Arizona and real estate.  The articles  posted here are contributed by various working professionals.  Their insights and experiences will inform, educate, challenge and entertain our readers week after week.  Some of the best reading on blogs often comes from reader Comments!  We encourage you to use the 'Comments' feature to join discussions and interact with both our Contributors, and our other readers.  We do require that you first review and accept our 'Comment Rules' in order to preserve the quality and integrity of this blog.  Also be aware that all visitors are subject to our Terms of Use.

We put the 'REAL' back in real estate!

« Subprime Mortgage Interest Rate Freeze - Private Sector Solution or Government Bailout? | Main | Fed Lowers Interest Rates Again - Investors Upset »

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Indoor Air Quality & Pollutants in Your Home

During the last 20 years, many homes have been made tighter to conserve energy, to decrease the amount of heated air that leaves the house in winter, and likewise, decrease the amount of cooled air that escapes in the summer.  At the same time, of course, there is less fresh, cold air getting into the house in the winter and less fresh hot air entering the house in summer.  This may seem like a good idea; it isn't.  Because the air inside your house is in an enclosed space, the concentration or level of pollutants can be much greater in the air inside than outside.  A tighter house has a lower ventilation rate.  As a result of ventilation decreases, the concentration of pollutants inside the home increases.

Indoor air pollutants pose the greatest risk to people who are at home the most; babies, children, the elderly and chronically ill.  Ironically, these are the very same people who are most susceptible to pollution in the air.  Some indoor air pollutants like radon and asbestos are life threatening.  While others may not be life threatening, they can make your life miserable causing eye, nose & throat irritation, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever and digestive problems to name a few.

There are three basic ways to reduce and alleviate indoor air pollution:

  1. Source Control - the goal here is to simply eliminate the source of the pollutant
  2. Ventilation - both natural ventilation & mechanical ventilation will decrease pollutants within the home
    • Natural ventilation (open doors and windows)
    • Mechanical ventilation (using a fan)
  3. Air Cleaners - generally removes particles from the air, but not gas pollutants

There are many different types of indoor air pollutants:

the by-products of combustion, including environmental tobacco smoke;  respirable suspended particles;  carbon monoxide;  nitrogen dioxide;  volatile organic compounds (VOC's);  biologicals;  and electromagnetic fields (EMF's).

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and nonirritating gas that can interfere with the supply of oxygen to the body tissues.  Its sources can include unvented kerosene & gas heaters, leaking chimneys & furnaces, car exhaust, gas stoves and tobacco smoke.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) refer to a large number of organic vapors that contaminate the air.  It's common for VOC levels to shoot up temporarily, during and following new construction, renovation or refurbishing.  Therefore, it's important to increase ventilation as much as possible during and following any renovation.  Some VOC's are carcinogenic and there are numerous sources of VOC's including:  household products (paints, paint strippers & other solvents);  new carpeting, drapes & furnishings;  wood preservatives;  aerosol sprays;  cleansers & disinfectants;  moth repellents & air fresheners;  stored fuels & car supplies;  hobby supplies;  dry cleaned clothing;  and environmental tobacco smoke.  When present indoors, tobacco smoke can be a major source, or significant part of indoor air pollution.

Biologicals include things like fungi, molds and dust mites.  Higher levels of humidity tend to encourage their growth.  The two major actions to control biologicals are controlling the moisture and keeping your home as clean as possible.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMF's) are a combination of electric fields and magnetic fields that radiate from electric cables, wires, fixtures and appliances.  They include any appliance that either: uses electric bulbs; has an electric motor, such as a refrigerator, freezer, clothes washer, hair dryer, shaver, food mixer, blender, vacuum, etc.;  or has an electric heating element, such as a clothes dryer, iron, electric blanket, stove/oven.

The data is not conclusive regarding EMF health hazards.  It seems to indicate that the most likely health effects of exposure to EMF's would be in the areas of cancer and reproduction.  While a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, a statistical association has emerged between exposure to EMF and cancer risks and reproduction malfunctions.

  • 1979 - a study done by two Colorado epidemiologist, found that a greater percentage of children who lived near power distribution lines had cancer, compared with a control group.
  • 1986 - a study commissioned by the New York State Power Lines Project to see if the results could be repeated using a different group of children in Colorado.  The findings in that study substantiated the earlier findings.
  • 1989 - the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment concluded that "emerging evidence no longer allows one to categorically assert that there are no risks" from exposure to EMF's.

Here's one (probably unknown) step to control and mitigate EMF in your home:  If you have an electric blanket, use it to warm the bed and turn it off before you get into the bed!

Martin Spilo, Arizona Realtor with Gateway Properties in Phoenix, AZ      
Contributed By: Martin Spilo
Realtor ®
Gateway Properties
2430 W. Red Range Way
Phoenix, AZ  85085
Business: (623) 363-5685
Email me

Posted by Martin Spilo on December 8, 2007 | Permalink


I was really a big fan of airconditioning before I saw this documentary on household predators. I never knew that air inside the house could be even worser than the air outside. "Recycled air" is what they call it, which is really not good for the people in the house. Don't be surprise why your family is always getting sick. As a realtor, it is important to inform your clients about these things. If your customers ask about airconditioning, maybe it's also best to tell them. They will really appreciate it. Actually, it would be a good point in your marketing... to tell your client about the "air situation" of what your selling.

There are numbers of ways to inform about these or even get in touch with your clients. The current marketing trend at present is maximizing communication. Advertising and even transacting could be made easier. Think about the mobile phone and SMS messaging. Try to check how this process work, or even try it literally at http://www.cellmyhouse.org

Posted by: Cielo | Dec 10, 2007 9:42:37 AM

Thanks for sharing. I haven't thought the air indoors could be more polluted than the air outdoors.
As you posted, those reasons are excactly, but the air could be worse as something happend, I mean something wrong. Because there are more agents make the air outdoor polluted than the air indoor. Such as traffics, smoke, fog, toxic, temperature, bad smell, waste, .... But this post is remind us to take care to control the air inside.
Thanks again!

Posted by: Kenny Alex | Jan 1, 2008 10:18:31 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Indoor Air Quality & Pollutants in Your Home:


      Advertise on BlogArizona.com!

Equal Housing Opportunity

     Home  |  Archives  |  Login

  © BlogArizona, LLC 2005
      All Rights Reserved

     Terms of use  |  Disclosure