How To Know If There Is A Problem

Concerned that the air in your home or workplace may be harming your health or someone else’s? Do a little digging to find the likely culprit. Walk through the building and ask a few questions to discover if the indoor air is causing a problem. Then click on links to learn more about potential sources of indoor air pollution.

In your home

Do health symptoms improve when you leave the building? Do they return when you come back into the building? If so, you may have an indoor air pollution problem and should explore the following potential sources.

  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew? 
  • Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or standing water anywhere—kitchen, basement, attic?
  • Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully vented to the outdoors?
  • Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
  • Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
  • Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted?
  • Do you use odor-masking chemicals or “air-freshening” devices?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and removed?
  • Have you used pesticides recently?
  • Have you tested your home for radon? Although radon doesn’t cause noticeable, physical symptoms, you should test your home for this dangerous substance.

In your workplace

Do health symptoms improve when you leave the building? Do they return when you come back into the building? If so, you may have an indoor air pollution problem and should explore the following potential sources.

  • Are there machines indoors that could be emitting odors, particles or chemicals, including copiers or printers?
  • Are there chemicals used in the work that emit odors, particles or gases? Are the emissions properly controlled and/or exhausted to the outside?
  • Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted?
  • Has anyone brought in materials or products that give off odors, gases or particles, such as sprays, perfumes or fragrances?
  • Has food been stored in the kitchen or other areas of the workplace?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been removed?
  • Are there outside sources of odors or chemicals coming indoors, such as vehicle exhaust, roofing materials or dust from construction?
  • Are heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems working properly and well-maintained? Are they sized properly for the space? Are vents or grilles blocked?
  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew?
  • Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or standing water anywhere?