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Serving West Michigan Since 2004

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Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

sick-woman-blowing-her-noseEven with the latest air conditioner or the best furnace, there’s one thing that won’t fix itself on its own:

Air quality.

You could be living with poor indoor air quality right now and not realize it. Those with strong immune systems may not notice anything, except for maybe some stale or stuffy air. But when fall comes around and the cold begins lowering our immunities, that’s when you might realize you have an air quality problem.

In this post, we’ll talk about the negative effects of poor indoor air quality, their causes, and what you can do about them.

How Do We Know What Poor Indoor Air Quality Looks Like?

One of the reasons poor indoor air quality is ignored is because you can’t see it. Even for those who are affected by it, they can only tell you if they think the air is bad based on nothing more than how they feel.

That’s because poor air quality exacerbates symptoms of allergies and asthma. It’s not uncommon to experience dry eyes and throat, coughing, headaches, and other symptoms when exposed to bad air quality for too long. And often, these symptoms will only last for as long as you’re in the building.

Luckily, an indoor air quality expert in Grand Rapids, MI can perform an air quality test for you. This will give you an objective rating of your home’s air quality and help pinpoint the contaminants floating in the air circulating through the house.

What Kind of Contaminants Are There?

Indoor air quality contaminants come from a variety of sources, from natural to manmade. Knowing the source of the contaminants can help you reduce them.


These come from various manmade products. For example, consider air fresheners. We like putting them in our rooms to create a pleasant aroma, but they also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Without proper ventilation, these VOCs can build up over time and create various short-term and long-term health risks.

Chemical pollutants can be found in a surprising number of products, from cleaning supplies to formaldehyde in wood furniture. The best way to handle them is with an air purifier and proper ventilation.


Contaminants ranging from bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. These pollutants can spread and cause seasonal illnesses.

Biological contaminants can be made worse with high humidity levels; the extra moisture will encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. So, one approach to the problem could be to install a dehumidifier.

The other approach is to go with a UV air purifier. These air purifiers use UV light bulbs to prevent microorganisms from reproducing entirely. The bulb is installed in your HVAC system and will need to be replaced annually, but it can make a substantial difference.


We said earlier that you can’t “see” poor indoor air quality, but most of us have seen the presence of dust and particles floating through beams of light. These particles come in all different sizes—some of them too small to see—and can contribute to poor air quality. Dust, dirt, and pet dander are common examples.

The best solution here is a mechanical air filter. These filters catch particles on a mesh screen for you to then dispose of later.

Looking for solutions to your indoor air quality woes? Contact Westshore Mechanical today to speak with an expert.

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