Combustion processes and indoor air quality

© MEV Verlag

Combustion processes greatly influence the quality of indoor air. A large number of combustion products and substances relative to odour are released when foods are heated to high temperatures, when scented candles and lamps are lit and during the operation of wood-burning fires and ethanol heaters. There is a suspicion that these compounds may be endangering health. It is therefore essential to follow some important rules and to ventilate properly when handling these sources.

Combustion processes take place both outdoors and indoors. In addition to the daily preparation of meals (cooking, frying) and the use of heat-generating household appliances, heating with wood-burning fireplaces, the use of candles, and ethanol fireplaces are among the most important sources of combustion products indoors, depending on the season.

Everyday sources

When certain foods are heated, roasted, baked or grilled, substances can be released into the air which are suspected of being harmful to health. These include furan, acrolein, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) as well as ultrafine particles. The latter are produced both by combustion processes (gas stoves, candles, cigarettes) and by heat-emitting household appliances (hair dryers, toasters, heaters). Combustion processes or household appliances are therefore a particularly significant source of particles and, depending on the situation, can have a greater impact on indoor air quality than outdoor air sources (traffic). Acrolein, which is produced by incomplete combustion of fuels, wood or plastics, can also be released in high concentrations by residential activities (e.g. frying with vegetable oil, smoking) and thus significantly exceed outdoor concentrations.