Homeowner’s Guide to Fall IAQ: How Candles, Pumpinks and Decor Can Affect Your Air

As seasons change, fall IAQ concerns replace many of the indoor air quality issues more prevalent during summer’s hotter weather.  People spend more daily hours inside the house as the earth tilts toward winter. Thus, exposure to indoor allergens is increased. Also, moderating temperatures common to this transitional season mean the home’s central air conditioner isn’t running as often and the furnace isn’t operating full-time yet, either. Therefore, the important air filtration function of your HVAC system may be reduced.

Fall IAQ concerns also originate from these issues specifically associated with this season:

Scented Candles

Scented candles contribute to the autumn ambiance inside homes. However, many of these products are parrafin-based and release petroleum pollutants as they burn. The EPA officially classifies this type of scented candle as a source of toxic indoor pollution. It’s a particular concern because smoke from candles may coat the surfaces inside HVAC ductwork, forming an ongoing source of airborne pollutants.  As a healthier alternative, purchase natural vegetable-based candles including beeswax, soy and coconut, instead. Be sure to check the ingredients label to confirm that these products are 100% natural and don’t also contain paraffin.


Fall party decor such as hay bales and other agricultural-themed items may be a source of airborne allergens. “Hay fever” is appropriately-named as many persons experience sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, eye irritation, and itching if pollen emitted by hay and other plants during this season is inhaled.


Common foods at this time of year include pumpkin pie. Persons with sensitivity to squash can actually experience allergic responses by inhaling the (delicious) vapors produced by a pumpkin pie cooking in the oven.

Awareness of fall IAQ concerns is the first line of defense against allergic reactions and other issues. Regular HVAC maintenance is another. Change your system air filter now and continue changing it every other month throughout the winter. Also, it’s the time of year to schedule professional preventive maintenance for the furnace, including a duct inspection.

Don’t let fall IAQ concerns spoil the season. Contact Paitson Bros., your source for healthy indoor air quality since 1922.

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