Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Keeping Up With Your Home's IAQ: The Impact of Candles, Pumpkins and Fall Decor

Fall is a great time to bring out the pumpkins, scented candles, potpourri and other paraphernalia associated with Halloween and harvest time, but you should do so with some concerns. The artificial fragrances and scents associated with this type of decoration can have some adverse effects on your home's indoor air quality and cause problems for those sensitive to the scents.

Here's a brief primer on fall IAQ concerns.

Fall and Your Home's IAQ

While many of the scents associated with fall are enjoyable and heighten the celebratory mood, it's important to understand that these scents and fragrances contain volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. These chemicals can be aggravating to those with allergies, and may also trigger asthma attacks. Persons with COPD and other respiratory ailments such as chronic bronchitis should probably not breathe them.

In addition, burning candles not only gives off VOCs, but paraffin candles can produce soot that may clog up your home's air filter. It's better, if you must burn candles, to burn soy or beeswax types.

Substitutions for VOC-Laden Scents

Adopting some of these practices will eliminate the need for chemical-laden air fresheners, potpourri and diffusers.

  1. Hang do-it-yourself rosemary wreaths around the home.
  2. As you go around cleaning the home, try doing so with a natural cleaner made of baking soda and herbs, spices and essential oils.
  3. If you're a fan of diffusers, make sure you choose carefully the oils you disperse into your home, going for natural products that don't irritate.
  4. We've already mentioned substituting non-paraffin candles in jack o'lanterns, but you could go a step further and wire an electric light inside the candle. LED lights are making this substitution increasingly easy.
  5. As for potpourri, instead of chemical, manufactured scents, try simmering citrus fruits, cloves, apples and other fruits on the stove in a pot to fill your home up with a natural fragrance. You can also bake pumpkin or apple bread in the oven to fill up the home with fall aromas.

To learn more about fall IAQ concerns, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating and Air of San Diego.