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How Healthy is the Air in Your Loved One's Home?

The Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes program offers information about indoor air hazards every homeowner should know about.


Man sitting by fireplace

Sitting by the fireplace is so cozy in the winter—but a damaged flue or chimney may be one source of unhealthy indoor air.


If you're like most Americans, you spend much of your time indoors. Have you ever stopped to think about whether the air you're breathing at home is healthy? Research has found that in some homes across America, the quality of indoor air can be worse than outdoor air. In part, this is because many homes are being built and remodeled tighter.

You don't have to be a building scientist to deal with the quality of air in your home. However, you should understand a few basics to get you started. The Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes project offers basic but comprehensive information to help consumers get a handle on indoor air quality. Take the time to identify things in your home—or the home of a senior loved one—that could impact the quality of indoor air and health.

Signs of a Possible Indoor Air Quality Problem:

  1. Unusual and noticeable odors;
  2. Stale or stuffy air;
  3. Noticeable lack of air movement;
  4. Dirty or faulty central heating or air conditioning equipment;
  5. Damaged flue pipes or chimneys;
  6. Excessive humidity or condensation; 
  7. Presence of molds;
  8. Health reaction when inside the home, especially after remodeling, weatherizing, installing new furniture, using household or hobby products or moving into a new home; and, 
  9. Feeling noticeably healthier outside the home.

Indoor Air Hazards You Should Know About

Click on any of these topics to learn more from Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes:

  • Biological Pollutants (like molds, animal dander, cockroaches, and dust mites). Sources include excessive humidity levels, poorly-maintained humidifiers and air-conditioners, inadequate ventilation and animal dander.

  • Unhealthy Remodeling By-products. Sources include materials such as asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, and other hazardous materials disturbed during remodeling activities.

  • Combustion Products, Including Carbon Monoxide. Sources include gases or particles that come from smoking and the burning of fuels—natural gas, propane, wood, oil, kerosene and coal.

  • Lead DustSources include lead-based paint dust from removing paint by sanding, scraping and burning.

  • Secondhand SmokeSources include sidestream and exhaled smoke from burning tobacco products.

  • RadonThis is a radioactive gas from soil and rock beneath and around the foundation, ground water wells and some building materials.

  • Hazardous Household Products. Sources include cleaning products, paints, air fresheners, hobby supplies, dry cleaned clothing, aerosol sprays, adhesives that contain formaldehyde, and fabric additives used in carpeting and furniture.

  • Asthma Triggers. Sources include secondhand smoke, dust, mites, pets, molds and pests such as cockroaches and rodents.

Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes is a partnership program of the Montana State University Extension Housing Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The national consumer education program is concerned with improving the quality of indoor air in homes, and offers nationwide education through state program managers and the development and distribution of educational resources.


Right at Home is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned, franchised providers of in-home care and assistance services.


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