The Most Common Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality in Dubuque, IA Skip to main content
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The Most Common Causes for Poor Indoor Air Quality in Dubuque, IA

By May 14, 2024May 17th, 2024No Comments
stale air

Have you ever walked into your home after a long day outside of it only to find that it smells musky and like stale air? Do you feel like your home isn’t well-ventilated or that the air conditioning unit isn’t operating as well as it should? 

Changes are good that your home is suffering from poor indoor air quality caused by a number of different factors. It could be that something is wrong with your HVAC system. There’s also the chance that there’s a problem with your pipes. 

Here are some of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality.  

High Pollen Count

If you’ve encountered breathing problems or severe allergies as the season shifted to Spring, then chances are good that it’s because of pollen in the air. While it’s normal for you to encounter a high pollen count outdoors, the last place you want it is inside of your home. 

Pollen is widely known for triggering various allergic reactions. This includes hay fever, which occurs when allergens enter your body and are identified as a threat. 

If you have breathing or lung problems, pollen in the air can prove especially dangerous.

Inadequate Ventilation

One of the most common reasons why a home suffers from poor indoor air quality is because it isn’t well-ventilated. Adequate ventilation and air circulation are essential for moving the air around and providing fresh air for you to breathe. Without it, pollutants like mold and dust can accumulate. 

You’ll usually notice poor ventilation if a room smells musty and stale. The room may also feel warmer and more humid. 

To improve home ventilation, you can open windows from time to time or make use of exhaust fans. Your HVAC system also improves ventilation and air quality. 

Lack of Dusting and Cleaning

It’s essential that you clean your house regularly if you hope to avoid airborne pollutants. 

For example, accumulated dust can irritate your eyes, throat, and skin if it gets into the air. It can contain microscopic particulates that can cause serious health problems for your lungs. Dust also makes your home look dirtier and not well taken care of. 

Good circulation helps to limit how much dust can accumulate. Lack of ventilation and circulation will cause it to build up much quicker. 

Household Cleaning Products

Even though a cleaner household will generally have better air quality, it is possible for the cleaning products you use to do more harm than good. 

To begin with, some of the stronger cleaning products are meant to be used in areas with good ventilation. Failure to properly vent a room may cause health symptoms if you’re exposed to them for too long. 

Furthermore, certain chemical cleaners can create dangerous results when combined. Bleach and vinegar create chlorine gas that will burn your eyes and cause breathing problems. Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar make peracetic acid, which is highly corrosive. 

Try to avoid mixing any chemicals together unless you know for sure that they work together. 


If you or someone you know smokes inside your house, then that is a major cause of poor air quality. Even if you don’t personally smoke, secondhand smoke can still cause problems like lung cancer. 

In addition, cigar and cigarette smoke can cling to your fabrics. This includes your furniture, your curtains, and even your carpet. It can take a lot to clean them and eliminate the smell. 

The same applies to marijuana smoke. If you aren’t ventilating the room sufficiently, then it can make a room feel more stuffy and difficult to breathe in. 

Stale Air and High Humidity Levels

Dubuque, IA suffers from some especially humid summers. Dehumidifiers are one of the many solutions you can utilize to improve your air quality and breathe easier. However, your air conditioning system can also strip some of the humidity out of the air. 

Humid air is more difficult to breathe than drier air. It’s thicker and can make your airways swell. You may also develop coughing or wheezing as a result of high humidity. 

While opening your windows can promote better circulation, it won’t help much if the air outside is more humid than the air inside. 

High Radon Levels

Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep into homes through cracks in their foundation. The problem is that radon has no smell or taste to it. Most homeowners wouldn’t know it was seeping into their homes until it was too late. 

Long-term exposure to this gas can cause an increased risk of lung cancer. There are no immediate signs or symptoms, so this exposure can potentially go on for years without detection. 

Testing for radon should always be included when checking indoor air quality. 

HVAC System Problems

Your HVAC system serves an important role outside of simply cooling or heating your home. Through a combination of filters and the cooling process, your system should both clean your air as well as dehumidify it. 

If your system is having issues, then you can expect your air quality to suffer. Your HVAC technician can check for any problems and let you know how your system is doing. Even something as simple as changing your air filter can make a huge difference in how well it works. 

Certain Building Materials

In certain rare cases, building materials such as asbestos and other insulations can release harmful pollutants into the air. This is most common in older buildings that were made before changes in building codes. 

If you’ve recently purchased an older home, it’s in your best interest to get it properly inspected for any harmful materials. These should either be removed entirely or encapsulated to prevent them from causing harm. 

Avoid Poor Indoor Air Quality in Dubuque

Stale air, high humidity, and a stuffy nose are only a few signs that your home has poor indoor air quality. However, it’s not always something you can solve by cracking a window or running your AC on high. You may need an official assessment to determine any airborne hazards in your home. 

Birch Heating & Cooling Fireplace & Patio provides premier HVAC services you can count on. We have decades of experience serving our community in Dubuque, IA. Contact us today with any questions and to set up a home visit. 

(563) 500-2087