The last place that a homeowner may think of when they contemplate where pollutants are known to lurk is their very own residence. After all, the home is supposed to be a sanctuary from the outside world, a place to rest from life's daily concerns, whether environmental or otherwise.

But as a recent study indicates, some of the most heavily polluted parts of the world can be found within the walls of the average home.

According to a pilot study conducted by environmental products company Kaz, researchers analyzed two homes, one located in Los Angeles and another in New York City. The homeowners were asked to run an air purifier system that the company produces for two straight months. At the conclusion of the 60-day period, they were instructed to send the filter from the air purifiers to microbiologists so that they could test what pollutants, if any, could be found.

The homeowners were surprised to learn just how much the air filters were able to detect, as pollutants like black carbon, heavy metals, dust contaminants, fungal spores and pet danger were all detected.

Ted Myatt, senior scientist at the University of Rhode Island who was involved in the study, pointed out that most Americans may not be fully aware of the air contaminants that they're breathing in on a daily basis.

"In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency states [indoor air] can be two to five times more polluted," said Myatt.

Home inspections crucial to enhance air quality

While using air filtration systems can make the air within a home cleaner and less impacted by pollutants, it's important to determine where various pollutants may be originating from. And one of the best ways of determining this is through a home inspection.

As noted by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, indoor air quality tends to be worse than most people expect it to be. However, this issue can be resolved by performing a property inspection.

In the course of looking for pollutants, they often originate from warm, dark areas of a home, such as in the basement. IACHI recommends looking in areas where there's a great deal of humidity for signs of mold, mildew, dust mites and cockroaches, which traditionally are in the basement or attic.

IACHI provides an in depth checklist that homeowners can use to assess air quality problems along with tips and suggestions for where in the home they should look.