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Why Is Phoenix's Air Quality So Bad?

Night skyline of Downtown Phoenix, Arizona

If you live in Phoenix, you probably know that air quality isn't always great. According to a 2022 State of the Air report, Phoenix is among the 25 worst U.S. cities concerning pollution. And unfortunately, many of these pollutants can infiltrate homes. This raises the question: Why is the city's air quality so bad? In this blog, we'll go over the following causes of poor air quality:

By the end, you'll know the factors that hurt air quality and what you can do about it.

Are you worried about the quality of air circulating in your home?

At George Brazil, we offer comprehensive cooling services that help improve air quality. And, thanks to our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can trust us to fulfill your needs. Call us at (602) 842-0009 or book below to see why over two thousand Phoenix Metro homeowners rate us as 5 stars.

Growing Population and Car Emissions

Blue paper cut outs of a cloud and car with scrabble tiles spelling out the word FUEL

From warm weather to vibrant nightlife, the city of Phoenix has tons to offer. Thus, it's no surprise that it's one of the fastest-growing metros in the United States. On the downside, population growth has a direct impact on pollution. More people means more waste, resource consumption, and car emissions.

Vehicles release harmful gasses like carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Not only do they pollute the air, but they also contribute to climate change and add ozone (a dangerous air pollutant) to the atmosphere. According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, driving is responsible for over 50% of human-caused ozone in Phoenix.

Household Activities

Believe it or not, many day-to-day activities enjoyed at home can contribute to air pollution.

Using Toxic Household Products

A left hand in a yellow rubber glove using a spray bottle.

Chances are, you have a cabinet stocked with cleaning supplies. While these are useful for eliminating messes, some may be hazardous to your health. The following products may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air and irritate the lungs:

  • Aerosol sprays
  • Air fresheners
  • Detergent
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Furniture polish

On the bright side, you can reduce this toxicity by choosing products with no or low levels of VOCs. You could also try to find natural products.

Charbroiling Burgers with Lighter Fluid

Nothing is better than heading outside for a barbecue when the weather is warm. However, if you're cooking your burgers with charcoal lighter fluid, it might be time to find an alternative method. The chemicals in lighter fluids can create ground-level ozone, which is unhealthy to breathe.

Mowing the Lawn

Many of us keep our lawns trimmed through mowing. Unfortunately, this simple act can contribute to air pollution. Using a gasoline lawn mower for just one hour can cause the same damage as driving a new car for almost 50 miles.


Cleaning products aren't the only things that can emit VOCs — paint is filled with toxic chemicals. So, if you're planning an indoor renovation project, remember that paint can hurt your air quality.

Using Wood-Burning Stoves

There's no question that wood-burning stoves turn out some delicious meals. In exchange for all that flavor, however, you'll have to deal with air pollutants. Burning wood releases smoke that damages air quality and irritates the lungs.

Many Common Bathroom Toiletries

No bathroom is complete without shower gels, shampoos, and conditioners. Unfortunately, many of these hygiene essentials are packed with VOCs. Like with cleaning products, it's a good idea to check labels and try to buy natural products.

Furniture and Flooring

VOCs are usually associated with things like sprays and smoke. However, they can also be found in concrete objects, like flooring. To avoid emitting these compounds in your home, avoid synthetic flooring (such as nylon carpeting or vinyl).

In addition to flooring, you can find VOCs in new furniture. Remove the packaging outdoors when buying a new couch or armchair, and air the item out.

Dust Storms and Monsoon Season

A cloudy sky across a desert landscape.

Long-time Arizona residents have probably experienced a dust storm. During these weather events, which impact Phoenix between one and three times per year, strong winds pick up dirt, dust, and other pollutants. Much of this debris is left in the air, contributing to air pollution. Strong winds associated with monsoon season, impacting Arizona from June to September, cause the same problem.

Lack of Humidity

If there's one thing every Arizona resident can agree on, it's that the region can get quite warm. And, because warm air absorbs moisture, there's often a lack of humidity. During the summer, the average humidity is just 19%. Low humidity does more than dry out your skin and hair — it encourages airborne germs, increasing the risk of respiratory infections.

How You Can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality in Phoenix

Now that you know what negatively affects air quality, you might wonder: how do I improve air quality in my home? Along with using more natural, VOC-free products, it's important to have an updated cooling system. Things like dirty ductwork or old air conditioners encourage mold and help spread pollutants throughout your home.

At George Brazil, we have over 60 years of experience connecting homeowners with the best cooling systems. From AC duct cleanings to regular repairs and maintenance, you can count on us to keep your air conditioner and interior air in prime condition.

Looking for Ways to Improve Your Home's Air Quality? Contact George Brazil Today.

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Whether you want a new air conditioner or a cleaning, we've got you covered. Our cooling services are designed to improve your home's comfort, energy efficiency, and air quality. Plus, we’re known in the area for our honest and dependable service, backed by our satisfaction guarantees and our Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics.

Contact Arizona’s premier HVAC contractor today by calling us at (602) 842-0009 or booking below to experience 5-star service.

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