residential air pollution

Common residential air pollutants

Indoor air pollutants both in biological or chemical forms are the major cause of air quality deterioration in homes throughout the United States.

Residential air quality pollutants can be classified into many, ranging from minor irritants like dust to the toxic ones including asbestos and mold.

Indoor air pollutants can be classified into two: Biological and Chemical:

• Biological Pollutants: mold, mildew, fungi, viruses, pollen and pet dander
• Chemical Pollutants: cigarette smoke, aerosols, chimneys and stove

This post features some common indoor residential air pollutions.

Asbestosis: asbestosis poisoning is one of the most critical air quality pollutants. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in rock and soil. The durability and the heat resistance of asbestos made it a popular choice in building construction.

However, inhaling the asbestos fiber is highly toxic to human health. Disturbing the asbestos via cutting, sanding or even remodeling attempts can release the fiber into the indoor environment. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fiber can endanger people living in the houses in concern.

Carbon monoxide: an odorless, colorless gas- carbon monoxide is another toxic component that has an adverse effect on indoor air quality. The fact that this gas is tasteless and odorless, makes it dangerous.
The effect of Carbon Monoxide varies with respect to different factors like the age, overall health, duration of exposure and concentration.

Some health concerns induced by carbon monoxide are fatigue, headache, chest pain and dizziness.
Some sources of carbon monoxide are gas stoves, tobacco smoke, leaking chimneys and faulty generators and other power equipments.

Biological pollutants: biological air pollutants include viruses, animal dander and other droppings in addition to dust mites and pollen.

The individual biological pollution might not be a big concern, however, a combination of one or two of these pollutants (Which is common in most of the houses in the United States) can raise health concerns based on the length of exposure.

Some sources of biological air quality pollutants are plant pollen, cat saliva, hose dust, mouse and rat droppings etc.

Symptoms of exposure to these biological pollutants include lethargy, watery eyes, short of breath and digestive issues.

Particulate Matter: Particulate Matter or PM is a conglomerate of solid or liquid particles light enough to hang in the air. These suspended particles can vary with respect to shape, size and composition. However, PM’s with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers can be really dangerous as they are easily inhalable.

Inhalation of PMs can turn out to be toxic as they can directly influence the functions of the respiratory systems and even the heart. As per some studies, the size of particulate matter can be directly linked to the seriousness of the health problems that the can inflict.

Some symptoms of PM inhalation are throat irritation, respiratory diseases, lung diseases. Particulate matter can be released into the indoor environment via tobacco smoke, leaky fireplaces, heaters, and stoves

The common residential air quality pollutants listed above are hard to identify, especially the chemical pollutants. This is where an experienced and certified professional can make a big difference. Consider contacting your air quality restoration specialist if you have any concerns regarding indoor air quality.

firefighters prpearing for fire cleanup

Harmful effects of untreated smoke

Fire and smoke can inflict damage to both your property and health. While property damages can be immediately diagnosed and attended to, something like smoke inhalation can take its time to trigger health-related concerns in inhabitants. This being said, inhalation of untreated smoke from a house or office fires can infect your lungs, make it swollen or fill it with fluid.

This blog post features the top 5 harmful effects of untreated smoke that any property owner must be aware of.

Cost to restore

When your property suffers fire damage, restoring it via professional assistance should be your priority. Bear in mind that trying to restore any fire damage without proper tools and equipment can lead to untreated smoke lingering in the atmosphere which can slowly but steadily have a deteriorating effect in your health.

Additionally, if the condition is left unsupervised for too long, the smoke odor can be too pungent and difficult to neutralize. This has a direct impact on the treatment processes, equipments and time required, which in turn will escalate the cost.

Asset damage

Fire and smoke can cause both permanent and extensive damage to your assets. A mixture of smoke, water, and ash can contribute towards a corrosive element. This conglomerate can eat away walls, floors, and ceilings.

If not attended to immediately, untreated smoke can start decolorizing your walls and other surfaces. A common scenario is the walls turning yellow and corrosion of metal surfaces.

Some visible damages by surfaces are as follows:

Curtains and upholstery can accommodate soot and trying to vacuum or beat this off can result in pushing the soot deeper, which in turn can make it too difficult to remove.

Clothes and bedding can house chemicals from unburned substances. These are usually invisible and should be treated with proper chemicals to alleviate any odor concerns.

Hard flooring can always suffer the risk of water and sooth damage. It can also develop stains and other marks as a result of firefighting techniques. On most of the occasions, you need to deodorize, refinish or replace the flooring.

Soot deposits

Soot deposit is another concern from untreated smoke that can wreak havoc. Most people are unaware of the fact that soot if left untreated for long, can find it ways through other rooms within the house that was not affected by fire or smoke in the first place.

This results in staining of walls, carpets, clothing, and other household items.

Thinking ahead and acting quickly is the only ideal solution when you have encountered fire damage, which usually leads to untreated smoke, odor, and unfavorable living conditions. Note that as per the IIRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), the following timelines are standard when it comes to asset damage.

Porous materials and synthetics within your fire-affected property can get discolored within minutes.
Walls, flooring, and furniture can start getting stains within hours to days.

A couple of weeks can help the soot to deposit deep into the material structures which in turn can escalate the cost of restoration and the likelihood of asset replacements.

vacuum-cleaner-carpet-cleaner-housework-housekeeping

5 Common carpet induced health concerns

Carpets play a key role in the aesthetic of any home. The color and pattern variants available can be utilized to add a unique touch and authentic appearance.

However, dirty carpets can disrupt the harmony of your life within your house in addition to raising several health concerns. In the 1980’s the World Health Organization unveiled the term Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). The SBS is a condition in which people living in a house or commercial building tend to feel sick or ill without any apparent reason.

Dirty carpets along with poor ventilation and heating can be highlighted as the main triggers for this condition. This post features five carpet induced health concerns that every homeowner must be aware of.

Asthma

Asthma can be one of the deadly health concerns triggered by dirty carpets within your household. Dirty carpets that are left unattended can second the growth of mold and dust mites. This can directly influence the indoor air quality leading to concerns like asthma.

Dust mite carcasses left on the carpets are easily airborne and can be a major inducing factor for asthma attacks. Apart from asthma dirty carpet can also induce concerns like lethargy, itchiness and dry eyes.

Allergies

Carpets can house tons of allergens from outdoors and indoors. Most commonly animal dander, mold and dust are the main factors that can turn a carpet into an allergen.

Some of the allergies commonly triggered by dirty carpets are:
• Runny nose and eyes
• Itchy and skin inflammation
• Dry and irritated throat
• Hives
• Coughing
• Wheezing and sneezing

Vacuum your carpets once a week using a HEPA certified vacuum.

Mycotoxin induced health concerns

Dirty carpets left untreated for days or weeks can initially second the growth of black mold and eventually support mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are a type of toxins that are naturally produced by molds. They can induce a series of health concerns in both humans and livestock ranging from acute poisoning to cancer.

Aflatoxin, a poisonous variant of mycotoxin if inhaled excessively can induce damage to the liver. Other variants of mycotoxin are also known to cause kidney damage. Simply put, you can also associate mycotoxin related health concern to stomach irritation and infection.

Weakened immune system

Dirty carpets that houses different forms of bacteria, fungi and other toxins can put your immune system to work 24/7. There might be point where your immune system is at its saturation point of operation and starts caving in.
This is where you become vulnerable to health concerns. This can affect every individual in your house especially toddlers.

Skin problems

Apart from the dryness, itchiness and inflammation that can be associated as symptoms of other carpet induced health concerns; dirty carpets can also cause issues like athlete’s foot. Walking on carpets barefoot brings in the possibility of fungal and bacterial infection through the wounds or cuts on the skin surface.

Hiring a professional to keep your carpets clean should be your number one priority especially if you have toddlers in your house. Toddlers can be constantly in contact with the floor and they always play around your house which makes them highly vulnerable to any of the health concerns listed above.

Smoke Residue Types

4 Types of smoke residues

Containing or preventing fire damage can be a challenge for property owners. Irrespective of the property type, overlooking even the minor fire hazards can turn out to be costly.

Severe or mild, a property fire incident will leave some residue behind. The effort and planning needed to clean this residue depends on several factors ranging from the severity of the fire damage to the type of substance that was subjected to fire.

This post highlights 3 types of fire smoke residue left behind after a fire incident.

Dry and wet fire residue

Fire damage to your house or any property type produces two types of residue: wet and dry. Even when it is easy to understand the type from the name, there is a big difference and complexity in understanding the effort needed to alleviate the respective concerns.

A dry fire residue is produced when the fire is classified fast burning and occurs with abundant oxygen supply. A wet fire residue, on the other hand, is a byproduct of substances burning slowly under a limited supply of oxygen. The wet fire residue can be the hardest to clean.

Dry Fire Vs Wet Fire Smoke Residue Comparison Table
Synthetic residue

Burning of oil-based materials like plastics and fabrics produces synthetic residue. The items in your house that can leave synthetic residue upon subjected for fire are window shades, furniture upholstery, carpets, and electronics. These items in question burn with a cloud of hazardous black smoke and leave a smeary residue.
Synthetic residue needs to be cleaned up professionally as it involves the burning of different types of chemicals.

Protein

Protein dominant substances like meat products and beans can leave a yellowish-brown residue. The residue after such instances can be sticky and requires professional gear and chemicals to clean up.

Kitchen fires are the prominent fire type that can leave this type of residue behind. The resultant odor can be a bit strong or unbearable. This makes deodorization an inevitable process in cleaning up such fire residue.

Fuel oil residue

Furnaces can often produce soot deposits due to incomplete burning of fuel oil. The incomplete burning scenario also creates thick smoke in addition to leaving greasy deposits behind.

It is easier to prevent fire damage than containing or restoring the damage post occurrence. Always think ahead and take the necessary steps to prevent fire at any cost. If your property has suffered fire damage, think smart and consult a fire damage restoration professional to ensure that the resultant residue is identified and treated in the best possible manner.