Is the Air in Your Home Safe?
In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most developed cities. Whether you live in an apartment, townhome, single family home, an old home or are building a new home, there are many ways to protect and improve your indoor air quality (IAQ).
Indoor pollution sources, such as carbon monoxide, viruses, bacteria, mold, and mildew that release gases or particles into the air are a primary cause of IAQ problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
The actual amount of air pollution in each home in the United States is going to vary, and it’s going to vary a lot. There’s a wide array of risk factors that affect IAQ and which ones are relevant can change by state, county, or even by town. If you know these risks, you can probably estimate how much indoor air pollution affects your home. If you want some peace of mind though, you can always test your indoor air. At the very least, you'll know what you're dealing with.
The resources on this page will help you take immediate steps to protect IAQ in your home and prevent IAQ problems during remodels, renovations or when building a new home. I have also included some resources for monitoring indoor air quality and useful methods to test the quality of the air in your home.
Tour the IAQ house to learn how to protect the air in your home
Read Care for Your Air
Test for radon or determine how to fix high levels of radon
Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Change the batteries in existing CO and smoke detectors
How to Test and Monitor the Air Quality in Your Home
Home Remodels and Energy Upgrades
The benefits of home upgrades are tremendous — improving quality of life for occupants, protecting the environment, and sustaining American jobs. Integrating healthy home and energy efficiency upgrade activities can simultaneously lower utility costs and improve indoor air quality. Leading energy efficiency upgrade programs have demonstrated the feasibility of integrating many IAQ and safety improvements. However, home energy upgrade and other remodeling and repair activities might negatively affect IAQ if an appropriate home assessment is not made before work begins or if work is performed improperly.
Use EPA’s protocols to protect IAQ during energy upgrades and other remodels.