How’s the Air in There?

The Time is Up for Odor and Airborne Particles Inside the Home

The Time is Up for Odor and Airborne Particles Inside the Home

Published: Aug. 5, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is one of four in a series about indoor air quality (IAQ): 1. "Learn About the 6 Components of Indoor Air Quality." 2. "It’s a Balancing Act: Household Temp and Humidity." 3. "The Time is Up for Odor and Airborne Particles Inside the Home." 4. "A Homeowner’s Need-to-Know Guide About Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide Levels."
Homeowners may not realize it, but indoor air quality (IAQ) can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Two factors are impacting the quality of the air we breathe.

No doubt about it, every house has unique smells. Odors and smells come from what we bring into the home and what we do indoors. Every time we (including our pets) go in and out of the house, we can carry tiny particles with us – like dirt and dust. As the seasons change, we introduce new elements like pollen and pollution into our homes. Once inside, these particles can become airborne – trapped with us.

Airborne Particles: Issues and Tips
Homeowners may be breathing in airborne elements – like pet dander and fireplace ash – that get trapped in our homes. Some airborne particles are unavoidable but knowing more about potential causes can help us find the right fixes.

There are three main potential causes for airborne particles in our homes:

  1. Outdoor elements such as dirt, dust, pollen, pollution and soot can come inside through our clothes, shoes, hair, pets and bags. Basically…if it’s outdoors, it’s potentially indoors.

  2. Indoor elements such as human and pet dander, fireplace ash and soot and smoke particles from burning cigarettes and candles are often invisible but potentially all around us.

  3. Leaks in our heating and cooling ductwork can lead to dust and other pollutants circulating throughout our homes.

Tips for filtering small and large airborne particles include:

Acceptable range for airborne particles and odors
(Ranges above are according to industry and proprietary product information.)

Odors and Smells: Issues and Tips
Many homeowners are tempted to mask noticeable odors with good-smelling products, but this may only add to our air quality issues.

The three main potential causes of odor and smells include:

  1. Products that have any kind of scent, such as: air fresheners, fragrances, cleaning chemicals, candles and personal-care products.

  2. Households generally generate their own unique smells based on the activities and interests of the occupants. This can include things like cooking, smoking and pets.

  3. Newly installed building materials, carpeting, freshly painted surfaces, plastics and furniture and any other materials that release gasses.

Addressing the odor problem in our homes can be as simple as removing or not using certain products and properly ventilating. But the reality is that new odors will continue to crop up with changes in household activities, the turning of the seasons and anytime we bring in new materials that release gases.

To help fix household odor problems, homeowners can install the air filtration systems mentioned above for help dealing with airborne particles. Household needs vary, though, and a different approach such as an odor absorber may be more appropriate.

Consider changing how frequently you run your HVAC fan: does it run only when cooling or heating the home? Consider turning the fan to “on” so it circulates air continuously in your home and the air doesn’t become stagnant.

The UV Air Purifier with the AirBrightTM Odor Absorption System deactivates airborne and surface contaminants like mold, bacteria and viruses in the duct system. It is ideal for humid climates and can neutralize odors caused by pets, cooking and smoking from the air passing by its UV lights and activated carbon cells.

Homeowners who seek to know more and want to measure indoor air quality can contact a local professional and take steps toward eliminating or reducing many household odors, as well as airborne particles trapped in the home.