Sick Building Syndrome

3 Causes of Sick Building Syndrome

August 30, 2017

Sick building syndrome describes many health problems caused by poor indoor air quality in your West Harrison, Indiana, home. People can have itchy eyes, rashes, headaches, allergy or asthma symptoms, sinus problems, fatigue, nausea, and more. Some of the most common causes of sick building syndrome are volatile organic chemicals, mold, and bacteria.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs like formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, and toluene evaporate or off-gas at room temperature. They can come from the glues in particle board, flame retardants in carpeting and furniture, paints and varnishes, cleaning products, and other common household or office items. These chemicals can cause breathing problems, dizziness, and even cancer. To prevent these problems, use natural cleaning products and air fresheners and store products like paint in a separate shed or garage. You should also buy furniture that’s had a chance to off-gas in the store instead of items from a warehouse or factory.


Some molds produce mycotoxins that lead to an unpleasant musty smell and many of the symptoms of sick building syndrome. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others, and it usually grows in moist areas like water-damaged walls, ceilings, and insulation. It can even grow behind wallpaper and under carpeting. You could need a mold remediation expert to get rid of all the harmful mold in your home. Use a dehumidifier and make sure there are no leaks in your roof or plumbing to prevent mold.


Bacteria can grow on dirty air filters, in your HVAC system, and in your ductwork. This causes sick building syndrome and leads to bad smells and expensive breakdowns. To prevent this problem, change your air filter once per month and have your HVAC system inspected at least once per year.

Western Hills Heating & Air Conditioning has more than 35 years of HVAC experience, and we can help you install, maintain, and repair a variety of heating and cooling equipment, including tools to improve your indoor air quality. Call us anytime at 812-227-3001 for great service.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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