Locating Biological Pollutants in Your Home

Biological air pollutants include mold, bacteria, fungi, as well as dust mites, insects, and their waste. All of these living (or once living) microorganisms can be harmful when breathed. When present in sufficient amounts, they can cause allergies, asthma, and other health problems. People who live with indoor air pollution of this sort are also more susceptible to viruses, as their immune systems are compromised by the damaging contents of the air.

Many of these biological pollutants can lurk in the dark, in secret. People are often not aware that there is a problem until well after the biological contaminants have affected their health. The good news is that once the offending microorganism has been removed from the home, most health conditions exacerbated by these contaminants will improve. But how can homeowners tell if there is a biological pollutant in their home?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to just sample the air in the home without a great deal of expense. Having your home tested will also not identify if that is the source of the health problem or not. It also does not reveal where the microorganism is coming from. Instead of going through such cost and hassle of having a professional sample the air in a home, there are some simple actions you can take to look for potential offenders.

Experts recommend taking a tour of the house, from top to bottom, inside and outside. It may seem humorous, but the nose is a great detective. If any areas smell musty, moldy, or otherwise strange, it is a good idea to investigate for the source of the smell. Mold often grows where there is excessive moisture, so pay particular attention to basements, bathrooms, and other enclosed, humid areas.

Look for water stains, wood rot, or other signs of damage that could be caused by microorganisms. Check around humidifiers, air conditioners, kerosene and gas heaters, refrigerator drip pans, dehumidifiers, basements, attics, crawlspaces, and even gas stoves for mold and other contaminants. Once a problem has been identified, professional treatment of the problem is recommended so the source can be removed without releasing additional irritants into the air.

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