The Different Types of Air Quality Contaminants

Worker changing a roof top air exhange units filter.

Despite your best efforts to cool and heat your home or business, that’s only half of the comfort equation. The other half is none other than indoor air quality. If your air quality isn’t at optimal levels, it can have detrimental effects on the inhabitants of your home or building.

Poor air quality can do nothing more than make your air feel a little stuffy and stale, but in other cases, it can be bad enough to cause long-term health issues. In this post, we’ll explain what poor air quality really is, how it’s caused, and what you can do about it.

How Do We Detect Indoor Air Quality?

Air pollutants are incredibly small, and since we can’t see them, it’s easy to assume they don’t exist or aren’t that harmful. Even those who suffer symptoms of poor air quality wouldn’t have anything tangible to show you.

However, an indoor air quality expert can perform tests in your home to measure the number of pollutants in your home. Using the results of these tests, they can then prescribe the right combination of air filters and air purifiers.

For that reason, we don’t suggest trying to install these devices on your own. You can’t know which products to use and how to install them without a proper assessment, first! Otherwise, you might be wasting money on unnecessary products.

What Kind of Contaminants Are There?

Air quality contaminants and pollutants can come from various sources, including both natural and manmade. If you know the source of the pollutants, one solution is simply to remove that source from your home.


Many of our cleaning products, air fresheners, preservatives, and other chemicals contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs can buildup in a home over time and start to cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Repeated exposure over the years can even create long-term health effects.

In commercial settings, industrial equipment and supplies can also produce chemical pollutants. And we don’t just mean in production or manufacturing—even the furniture and printers in your average office can produce VOCs.


Sometimes, the air just feels worse during the cold and flu seasons. Microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and mold spores can spread much easier through a sealed-off home or building. After all, work offices shared by many people are notorious for spreading illness.

Normal air purifiers cannot eliminate these pollutants. You’ll need one that is specifically marked as being capable of destroying biological contaminants. Typically, these are systems with UV lights. They exist as both standalone germicide lights, or as units like the Air Scrubber by Aerus, which is capable of cleaning the air of both organic and nonorganic contaminants.


There are also particles like dust, dirt, and pet dander. What’s harmful about these particles is the size of them—they’re just small enough to enter our lungs and bloodstream but big enough to cause damage over time.

If you frequently see dust and particles floating through sunbeams in your home, you have an idea of some of these particles. However, most of them are much smaller than this and can’t be seen by the naked eye.

To learn more about air purification and other Auburn HVAC services for your home or office, contact Resicon LLC today to speak with an expert.

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