Pratley & Partners

What's Polluting the Air Inside Your Home

Thursday, 7 September 2017

We tend not to consider potential air pollution within our home, especially as we live day-to-day without seemingly feeling its effects. However, various studies show we’re constantly at risk of breathing in harmful pollutants.

This can have long-term effects on our health, culminating in a condition known as Toxic Home Syndrome. It manifests in various ways, from minor ailments such as coughing, sneezing and fatigue, to more serious respiratory problems and even lung disease.

Without a fresh oxygen supply our homes will retain ‘bad’ air, and as new research shows, this is intensified when we complete general household chores. A natural ventilation system is therefore recommended to provide an ongoing source of clean air particles.

Which? Research

Consumer giant Which? completed a survey of three domestic homes in the UK, both before and after traditional cleaning tasks were carried out. What they found was an unexpected rise in pollutants that could be harmful after long-term exposure.

These pollutants include:

Particulate Matter – A group of air particles that are released after combustion activities such as gas cooking, coal fires and candles. If allowed to generate and gather in the same space, they increase the risk of lung and heart disease for inhabitants.

The Which? assessment showed a significant increase in particulate matter in all three homes. Using gas rings, burning toast and even introducing flowers were all contributory factors, as well as the properties not having a suitable ventilation strategy.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) – Typical VOC’s found in the home come from air fresheners and bathroom cleaners. They’ll form gas formaldehyde and other irritants if left to react withoutdoor ozone over a prolonged period.

Again, the results showed that without sufficient ventilation, very high levels of volatile compounds were detected. One particular test revealed the VOC amount was 34 times the UK Building Regulations recommended maximum level.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – The most common form of poor air quality comes through carbon dioxide, a substance we constantly exhale. High levels of CO2 can lead to drowsiness and lethargy, as well as breathing problems for those with asthma.

Carbon dioxide levels were higher after various kitchen and utility appliances were used. Rather worryingly, one property became three times over the guidance limit of 1,000 CO2 parts per million on the second reading.

Causes of Home Pollution

Gaseous pollutants from combustion processes are a main cause of indoor air pollution. Gas hobs, tobacco smoke, paint varnishes and cleaning products are all major factors.

Electronic and kitchen appliances will also cause a rise in harmful air supply, especially through carbon dioxide; washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and radiators are prime examples.

Likewise, humidity is another cause of air pollution inside your home. Too much moisture allows dust mites and bacteria to thrive, resulting in contaminants that we’ll constantly breathe in. Mould and mildew will also form, mainly in kitchens and bathrooms where condensation is more likely to gather.

This is why we strongly recommend a natural ventilation system is in place to alleviate the effects of Toxic Home Syndrome. At LJ Pratley, we offer a range of natural ventilation for domestic properties as well as commercial sites. Feel free to get in touch today on 01277 633933 or by emailing us at

If you’re worried about the ventilation in your home, check out 5 Signs Your Home Needs Better Ventilation.


Ultraflex Control Systems
STG Beikirch Ventilation Systems
Window Master Natural Ventilation
Clearline Window Controls