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How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution if You Live in a City

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How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution if You Live in a City

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Jun 20, 2024

More than 80% of the UK’s population live in urban areas, and the share is growing every year. While changes such as Low Emission Zones in city centres and air quality requirements for industrial buildings have improved the air quality outdoors, indoor air quality can still be poor and affect the health of residents over time.

Over the course of the year, we spend a lot of time indoors, particularly during colder weather, which reinforces the importance of air quality in protecting our wellbeing.

Poor ventilation in many city homes, particularly in noisier areas where it’s not always possible to leave windows open can lead to higher levels of air pollution indoors than outside.

Sources of indoor pollution

Air from outside isn’t the only source of pollution in our homes. While traffic fumes and the particulate matter that comes from unburned fuel and tyre rubber come from outdoors, cleaning products, tobacco smoke, and even gases from the materials our homes are built from contribute to the air that we breathe.

Common indoor air pollutants

Depending on where you live and the types of products you use in your home, there are many different pollutants that can affect the air quality in your home. These can be grouped into indoor and outdoor pollutants.

Pollutants from outdoors

In areas with high traffic, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can be high. Long term exposure to NO2 can affect the health of people with asthma and affect lung development of children.

Particulate matter – tiny particles of soot, dust, and even tyre rubber from vehicles can be carried in the air and be absorbed into the body when breathing. Depending on the chemicals that are inhaled, the health effects can range from minor irritation in the airways, to an elevated risk of some cancers. Particulate matter tends to be more of a problem on the lower floors of a building closer to street level.

In addition to pollution, allergens such as pollen are common in cities, especially during the summer. In built up areas, pollen levels can be much higher than in open countryside as there is less air circulation to disperse it.

Indoor pollutants

Many cleaning products, candles, and air fresheners include chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds. These can also be released from the materials used in furniture and construction. VOCs can affect your health in multiple ways including damage to kidneys, headaches, throat irritation, and nausea.

Poorly vented boilers and gas heaters in a home can cause high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to build up in a property. Carbon monoxide is particularly harmful and can cause suffocation.

Children, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues are most affected by poor indoor air quality.

Improving indoor air quality with ventilation

Improving the air circulation in your through better ventilation reduces the concentration of pollutants in the air.

Whole house ventilation solutions such as Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems work by drawing fresh air into the property from outside to displace the stale indoor air. These systems include air filters that remove particulate matter and allergens such as pollen from the incoming air and are mounted in the loft of your property above the levels where pollutants build up to their highest concentration.

The fresh and filtered air is then dispersed gently throughout your home to create a healthier environment for you and your family.

PIV systems such as EnviroVent ATMOS also help to prevent condensation from building up in your home. By creating a less humid environment, damp related problems such as mould are stopped, which also contributes to better indoor air quality.

Find out more

If you live in a city and are worried about the impact of air pollution in your home on your health and that of your family, we can help. Book a free home survey from one of our local ventilation specialists. They can visit your property and provide you with advice about the best solution for your needs. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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