Air Pollution From Central Heating

Air Pollution From Central Heating

Indoor air quality has deteriorated over the last 20 years due to stringent green building regulations to reduce energy usage resulting in poor ventilation.

The Perfect storm in modern and refurbished homes is going unnoticed during the winter months that coincides with the winter surge in out of season emergency cases of allergies and asthma, which could be linked to central heating more specifically Radiators!  

Using radiators in modern airtight humid properties creates ideal conditions for dust mites and mould to flourish that are potent triggers for allergies, asthma, and respiratory infections. 

 Radiators collect circulate and suspend dust particles containing V.O.C’s (Volatile Organic Components) and allergens raising exposure levels by heat convection that has become the main source of air flow in airtight properties.


Dust Between Fins                              Dust Behind Radiator

 See Blog - How To Clean Between Radiator Fins

Indoor air pollution is dust, dirt and gases in the air inside a building such as our homes or workplaces that can harm us if we breathe it in.  

You should be aware that it can be harmful to breathe in polluted air when you are outside. The same is just as true when you are indoors. 

We spend about 90% of our time indoors if be at home, at work, at school, or when we go to shops or restaurants etc. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to lung diseases such as COPD and lung cancer and Asthma!

The Types of air pollution include particulate matter which are microscopic particles of dust and dirt in the air. 

The air we breathe indoors can be greatly affected by poor ventilation, room temperature, dampness, and condensation and also the pollution that has come indoors from the outside. 

The composition behind dust and dander are fine particles that when inhaled or ingested into the human body will begin to trigger an allergic response within the immune system, which identifies the allergens as a foreign invader inside the body triggering the known health responses of an allergy attack.

See Blog - Do Radiators Circulate Allergens 


Have you ever tried the white finger glove test when cleaning your home, to determine once you have cleaned that you have really done the job to remove the irritating dust and dander allergens that have accumulated and collected on the surfaces in your homes?   One being the radiator Yes, the elephant in the room!


We recommend you try it, especially behind the Radiator!



It may seem like you just cleaned only to find more traces of dust reappearing within your home, which can lead to the increase of many health conditions to those occupants who are exposed to them.


What is Household Dust?

Dust is everywhere. It’s simple truth that as soon as you dust your furniture, more dust will appear, which can create a lot of problems, from eye irritation to lingering colds and allergies to that of an annoying itchy or runny nose. 

Above all, dust makes our homes look dirty and that attracts more dust. Not only that, as our homes become airtight and more heavily electronic, the dust problem is becoming an ever-increasing issue!


Dust is composed of fine particles of solid mater that can consist of pollen, human hair, Pet Dander, decomposed insects, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals from outdoor soil, human skin cells, and dust mites and their faeces and other materials found within our environment.  

Household dust and dust mites are present in almost any environment where humans live due to the particles that are produced and released from both the skin of these individuals and from their activities within our surroundings.  

As these dust particles form within the environment, they can begin to accumulate and eventually lead to the development of allergic symptoms in those exposed to the dust indoors.

“Home Fever” is a term used by ALLERGY UK which describes out of season hay fever symptoms. Allergy UK suggests its triggered by allergens, such as the dust mite, molds, cleaning products and pets that are present in the home or office.

See Blog – Do Radiators Circulate Allergens.

How can Central Heating affect indoor Pollution?

Radiators remain the first-choice emitter in the within the UK new build arena – accounting for 90% of all installations of the 26.3 million homes in the UK 23.6 million have radiators.

They create the ideal conditions for dust mites and mould spores plus microbiological infections to flourish resulting in a higher level of allergens, that are then circulated via heat convection, PLUS contributes to poorer indoor air quality!

There are Circa. 190 million radiators installed across the UK. of which the majority are never cleaned!

When radiators heat the air, the hot air rises, when hot air rises, the cold air rushes to fill the space where the hot air used to be, pulling in all that dust, hair, pet dander and other particles etc. with it - During this process and over a period of time radiators can accumulate reservoirs of dust!

If the output of your radiator drops too much, then you won't just feel uncomfortable your home will begin to accumulate moisture.  Moisture that is being allowed to cool to a watery substance!

If there is a buildup of dust and dirt inside your radiator then you are at risk of having a damp problem that will only get worse in time and can result in the development of mold issues.

Radiators are manufactured in such a way that the dust and dirt can become trapped inside the fins and not forgetting behind the back of the radiators, the one place we seem to ignore when cleaning!

However, without having central heating in our homes it would be very cold, so it is important when cleaning your home to clean the dust away from behind your radiators too as dust is a major air pollutant!


Covid 19

Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 could survive on surfaces for hours or days, Studies have found that similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS can persist on hard surfaces like metal, glass, or plastic for days. But they can be eliminated within one minute if cleaned and disinfected.

The Covid Virus could live in household dust for a considerable amount of time, Scientists have now found that covid can live in household dust for up to a month.

People living with poor Indoor air quality may be more vulnerable to the disease, and airborne particulate matter may help to spread the virus.

By regularly cleaning surfaces in our homes and workplaces can reduce the existence of the virus and the risk of contact.

See Bog - Is Central Heating Bad for your Health

This is why we also advise when cleaning your homes that you must consider also wiping down your radiators, not forgetting behind as this is where you will find the accumulated hidden dust!


People living with poor Indoor air quality may be more vulnerable to the disease, and airborne particulate matter may help to spread the virus.

By regularly cleaning surfaces and our Radiators in our homes and workplaces can reduce the existence of the virus and the risk of contact. 

After reading a write up in the Daily Mail back in 2016 – ‘How A Cosy Home Can Raise Risk of Allergies’ where Professor Hazim Awbi (PhD) from Reading University who says “toxic air trapped in new and refurbished homes could cause an 80 per cent rise in the number of people with asthma by 2050”

See Daily Mail - How a cosy home can raise your risk of allergies

See also Part 2 of our short documentary series where Dr Hazim Awbi (PhD) explains dust content and its affects on health, which can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies, amplified by poor indoor air quality issues where there is dust accumulation.



APPG – All Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings

Rotarad have been involved with APPG for Healthy Homes and Buildings and attended a number of meetings down at Parliament back in 2018.  We still hope to continue our support now that the Covid restrictions are now being lifted.

We are working with the APPG to try and raise the awareness on the health impacts from Radiators.

The meetings gave those who were involved an opportunity to hear the Minister's views on the  White Paper recommendations, which followed on to the Westminster Hall Debate on the cost of unhealthy housing and will help to shine a light on the many problems caused to our nation's health, wellbeing and economy as a result of people living in unhealthy homes.

Read The Healthy Homes and Buildings APPG White Paper ‘Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Building’

Released on 24th October 2018. Click here to download the White Paper.

This also took the APPG to another step towards urging the Government to take on board our recommendations, driving up standards, building better homes and upgrading existing housing stock.

APPG are looking to raise the case that the homes and buildings we live and work in should be healthy and positively contribute to our physical and mental health instead of diminishing it.

Rotarad Solution for Cleaning Radiators!

By having easy access Rotarad can make it so simple!

Picture 1 – Remove the excessive dust and grime with a vacuum.

Picture 2 – Remove any stains and very fine particles of dust with a moist cloth.

Picture 3 – Shows the amount of dirt that has been cleaned from the radiator.



Dust is obviously bad for you; Radiators heat the air which rises and spreads the dust around by cleaning behind them at regular intervals this can help alleviate the problem. 

Cleaning behind your radiator has proven to manage the removal of dust mite allergens.  By cleaning behind radiators in hospitals in the UK it has proven to manage allergens plus the infection control of the so-called superbug MRSA and C-diiffle.

Fixed static radiators with no access to clean could be now becoming the new indoor diesel car, if so, this would be a major problem going unnoticed simply making radiators accessible for cleaning would be equivalent to fitting catalytic convertors on cars to help reduce dust pollutant exposure.

By being able to access your radiators for periodic cleaning to remove the dust this could make a significant contribution to improving your health.

Keele University Research

We are at present working with Keele University aiming to identify the relationship between dust and common health problems, such as respiratory and asthma.  We have identified so far that dust is becoming an ever – increasing problem!

In summary of their findings so far, we cannot conclusively determine a relationship between household dust from behind radiators and health impact, it can be said that radiators are a key contributor to air and dust movement in a room, and that dust does demonstrate a health impact on occupants.

So, watch this space, we will publish more on their findings very soon!

When it comes to decorating behind your radiator see our recommended blogs:

How to Decorate behind a Radiator.

How To Paint Behind A Radiator without Removing It.

See pictures below showing wallpaper coming away from wall, by allowing you full access, the Rotarad Kits can make it so much more easier!

The picture below shows access to the radiator lowered at a 45 degree angle.


So, when it comes to that time when you want to either decorate or thoroughly clean behind your radiators!

Don’t Get Your Mrs Mad – Get Her Rotarad!

See our recommended Blog 

Draining Down The Radiator -V- The rotarad Removal Kit





















































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