What Is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality is a term that encompasses all of the aspects that involve the air in your home. This includes topics such as pollutants, toxins, and humidity. You should always be looking to improve indoor air quality in your Berks County home as it provides many benefits. These benefits include easy breathing, comfort, and a healthier family. 

Doing so typically isn’t difficult. With a little research and the right tools, you can significantly improve the air quality in your home. To help you begin, B&L Ott has compiled this guide of indoor air quality tips. 

Common Pollutants

There are a variety of pollutants that can contaminate the air in your home. When inhaled by your family, these pollutants can be harmful. Therefore, it is very important that you get any leaks or damage tended to as soon as possible. It is also important to know what sort of pollutants to watch out for and what appliances and household items can present these hazardous pollutants. Below, you will find some of the most common. 

Indoor Combustion

If you have any gas-fired appliances in your home that are leaking or not venting properly, they can release gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and water vapor into your home. Common appliances that can release these gases include furnaces, water heaters, ranges, and some dryers. If you have any of these appliances, make sure they receive regular maintenance and are working properly. This way, they won’t pose hazards for your home and family.  

Molds and Other Allergens

High moisture levels can attract mold, mildew, and other allergens. Therefore, if you have high humidity levels, spill water somewhere, or take a hot shower, you will want to make sure the area is cleaned and properly dried. You can also purchase a dehumidifier if the humidity is too high. 

Allergens attracted by high moisture can make it difficult for your family to breathe. If there is an issue with these allergens you may find your family sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and struggling to breathe. This is especially true if they have allergies or any other respiratory conditions. If you are struggling with these pollutants, be sure to contact B&L Ott for some help with indoor air quality control. 

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a hazardous and potentially deadly gas. Therefore, it is a vital gas to keep an eye on. It is also colorless, odorless, and virtually undetectable to humans. Therefore, it is important to get a carbon monoxide detector to protect your family. 

Common symptoms of carbon monoxide include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. If any of your family members are experiencing any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get out of your house immediately and call 911 for help.  

Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is commonly used in all sorts of building materials. This includes insulation, vinyl flooring, roofing, siding, textured paint, heat-resistant fabrics, and more. When these fibers are inhaled, they can cause fibrotic lung disease and affect the lining of your chest cavity. Your respiratory system will be affected and major damage can also lead to death. 

If you suspect asbestos in your home, you should call on a qualified professional to have it properly cleaned. Keep your family members away from any damaged building material that contains asbestos and do not attempt to clean it up yourself. 

Negative Health Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality

So, why is indoor air quality important? The most important reason why you should care about poor indoor air quality is that it can pose negative health effects on your family. Some effects of indoor air pollutants can be immediate. You may experience symptoms in just a few seconds or minutes after being exposed. 

Other pollutants cause issues over time. You may have to be exposed to the pollutants for years until you notice anything wrong with your health. People with pre-existing respiratory issues are also more vulnerable to many of the pollutants and may notice issues more quickly. 

Knowing the common symptoms of poor indoor air quality can help you notice issues sooner. This way, you can correct the problem before it gets more serious and expensive to fix. Below you will find common short-term and long-term issues to be on the lookout for. 

Short-Term Effects

When you are exposed to certain air pollutants, you may notice some of these symptoms almost immediately. 

  • Itchy or irritated eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea 
  • Runny or itchy nose
  • Dry or scratchy throat
  • Fatigue

The good news is, many of these symptoms will cease if you walk away from the contaminated area and clean up the contaminants causing the symptoms. If this is not the case, however, be sure to see a doctor and get help diagnosing the issue as soon as possible. 

Whether you are experiencing immediate symptoms or not, it is still very important to be on the lookout for these symptoms. You want to catch any health issues as soon as possible so you can correct them. It is worth noting that age, pre-existing conditions, and individual sensitivity can all affect how quickly you experience symptoms. If others in your household are having issues, but you are not, it is a good idea to inspect for leaks and pollutants anyway. This way you can keep your family healthy and your Berks county home a comfortable place to be.

Long-Term Issues

While you may not experience immediate reactions to pollutants, you may still develop conditions over time. Common conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer 

Various aspects are involved in determining how long it will take for you or your family members to experience symptoms. Like short-term symptoms, age, pre-existing conditions, and individual sensitivity can all affect how soon you notice symptoms. Additionally, the concentration of the pollutants and exposure time can also affect the severity and timing of the conditions. We still do not understand the effects of certain pollutants in the average home. However, it never hurts to be cautious and try to improve your indoor air quality as much as possible. B&L Ott can help you accomplish this. 

How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

There are various ways you can improve the air quality in your Berks County home. Some are simple and very affordable, others are a bit more complicated, but also more effective. 

If you need help improving the air quality in your home, B&L Ott can help you find and install the right appliances. Whether you need an air purifier, humidifier, dehumidifier, or ventilation, we have the knowledge and experience to keep your family comfortable. We can help you find the best models to fit your home, family, and budget. Better air quality is just a B&L Ott visit away. 

Let Fresh Air Inside Your Home

If the weather is nice, one of the simplest and easiest ways to get fresh air into your home is to open the windows. This will promote air flow and allow for the stale air in your home to be replaced by fresh air. 

In the very cold and very hot months, this can be difficult to accomplish. Most of the time, you won’t want to sacrifice the warm or cool air for fresh air. Therefore, you will likely want to find an alternative solution for very hot or very cold days. Check out some of the other solutions below.

Change Your HVAC Filters 

Your HVAC filter helps clean the circulated air in your home. However, when it gets filled with dust and other pollutants, it won’t clean the air as thoroughly. If it gets very clogged, it may not clean the air at all and cause issues with your HVAC system. With this in mind, your filter needs to be changed or cleaned regularly, usually about once a month for standard filters. By keeping up with this regular maintenance task, you can help keep the air in your Berks County home clean. 

Buy an Air Purifier

Another popular solution is air purifiers. Air purifiers vary in price depending on the size and type. They also vary in how effective they are. Air purifiers help sanitize the air in your home using various methods depending on what type you choose. B&L Ott can help you choose the best type and size for your home and family. 

Invest in House Plants 

Another helpful option is buying house plants. Certain species can help improve the air quality in your home. You can find some of these in the section below. 

10 Great Plants to Help Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

There are many reasons to have plants in your home. They add life to your home, are pretty to look at, and they make you happy. Some can even help improve the air quality in your home. There is some controversy about how effective they truly are, yet, there are few downsides to having plants in your home. Therefore, it makes sense to look into some of these helpful plant species and perhaps purchase a few for your home. Below are some of the best plants for indoor air quality. 

Barberton Daisy

If you want something with a bright pop of color such as pink, red, yellow, or orange, a Barberton daisy may be just the plant for you. They can help cleanse your home of toxins such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. They are sure to bring some life into your home and make you smile. 

English Ivy

English ivy can give your home a cozy feel as well as help reduce fecal particles in the air. It can also help reduce mold levels in your home. It is easy to take care of and can add the perfect accent to your bathroom.

Snake Plant

The snake plant, also commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongue, gives off oxygen. With this in mind, it is a fantastic plant to have in your bedroom to help you breathe easy and get a good night’s rest. The snake plant can help filter toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene from the air.


Like the Barberton daisy, chrysanthemums can also add a generous pop of color to your household. Chrysanthemums can filter toxins such as ammonia and benzene from the air. These are typically found in plastics, detergents, and glue. Your kitchen would be the perfect spot to place this plant.

Spider Plant

If you are concerned about being able to keep your houseplant alive, a spider plant may be just what you are looking for. It is one of the most resilient plants on this list. It will help remove carbon monoxide and xylene from your Reading home. It is also non-toxic to pets.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a highly useful plant to have in your home. Not only does it remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air, but it can also help heal your skin when you get burnt. Aloe Vera will thrive fantastically in a sunny spot in your kitchen.

Broad Lady Palm

Your home needs to be cleaned regularly. However, many cleaning products include a toxin called ammonia. Broad lady palms are one of the few plants that can help improve ammonia levels in your home. They can get expensive, so you may want to start out with a smaller plant. Broad lady palms thrive in humid places so your bathroom would be a great place for this lovely plant.

Red-Edged Dracaena

If you want some greenery, but also a pop of color, a red-edged Dracaena just might be the perfect choice for you. It can help with toxins such as Trichloroethylene and xylene. Make sure to put it in a place that it has room to grow as it can reach heights up to 8 feet.

Weeping Fig

The weeping fig has been a popular house plant for a long time. They can be a little tricky to take care of as they prefer certain conditions and don’t like change. Be sure to keep it in bright, indirect light. Despite its fussiness, it can be a great plant to have as it helps with formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene toxin levels.

Chinese Evergreen

If you want to give your home a more tropical feel, Chinese evergreen is the perfect touch. It can remove toxins commonly found in detergents and cosmetics such as formaldehyde and benzene. A good place for a Chinese evergreen is the bathroom as it prefers low-lit and humid places. If the air in your home is dry, be sure to mist the leaves regularly to keep your Chinese evergreen healthy.

As you can see, there are many reasons to take strides to improve the indoor air quality of your home. There are also many ways to do it. Here at B&L Ott in Reading, PA we are dedicated to helping you and your family with all of your HVAC and air quality needs. If you want to learn more about what you can do to improve the air quality in your home, don’t hesitate to call us.