While air pollution is often thought of as an outdoor issue, we spend most of our time indoors, so it’s important to pay attention to the air quality inside your home. The air inside your home may be polluted with formaldehyde, dust, radon, fire-retardants and other chemicals that may be used in cleaning products, as well as pollutants that are tracked in from outside. Dust mites, mold and pet dander are also common allergens found in the home.
Children, the elderly and individuals with chronic health conditions may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but healthy adults may begin to see the effects of poor indoor air quality after prolonged exposure. These conditions can include severe allergies, respiratory conditions and other illnesses.
Fortunately, a few maintenance tasks and lifestyle changes are enough to reduce contaminants and correct indoor air quality issues. Find out how to improve your indoor air quality and ensure that you and your family are breathing the freshest, cleanest air possible.
Keep Your Floors Clean
Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in dust for long periods of time, but a vacuum with a HEPA filter can help you reduce these contaminants. HEPA filters also get rid of many allergens and toxins, such as chemicals, pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Be sure to vacuum high-traffic areas often, and don’t forget upholstered furniture, carpet edges and walls to get dust that has accumulated.
Mopping also picks up the dust that vacuuming misses. Plain water is enough to clean dust or allergens that are left behind, and microfiber mops capture more dirt and dust than conventional mops.
You should also invest in some high-traffic floor mats for each doorway into your home. This helps collect the dirt, chemicals and pollutants that may be tracked in on shoes, so all you have to do is clean the mat on a regular basis.
Maintain the Humidity Level
Dust mites and mold thrive in moist environments, so it’s important to keep the humidity in your home between 30 percent and 50 percent. A dehumidifier helps to reduce the moisture in your indoor air and control allergens and mold, and an exhaust fan or open window will keep moisture at bay.
You should empty the drip pans in your dehumidifier or air conditioner on a regular basis as well, since this only evaporates and recycles the dirty moisture back into the air.
Cigarette smoke is a big contributor to poor indoor air quality. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals that may increase the risk of asthma, respiratory infections, cancer and heart problems. Make your home a nonsmoking space, and if you or a family member smokes, commit to quitting to improve the air quality.
Test for Radon
Radon can be an issue in both new and old homes. This odorless, colorless gas significantly increases the risk of lung cancer due to its radioactivity from the natural decay of radium in soil. Radon is a problem in homes with cracks and holes in the foundation, but it can occur in any home.
Testing for radon is quick and inexpensive. If you determine that you have a radon issue, the Environmental Protection Agency offers a guide to reducing radon in your home.
Use Natural Products
Though you may enjoy the synthetic fragrances found in cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and air fresheners, these products dump plenty of chemicals into the air that may affect air quality. Most fragrances are derived from petroleum products and haven’t been thoroughly tested to check for adverse health effects in humans upon inhalation.
There are a few ways you can protect your home and your family from these chemical pollutants:
- Use fragrance-free or naturally scented cleaning products.
- Use mild cleansers that don’t use synthetic scents.
- Avoid aerosol sprays.
- If you’re using a scented product, open your windows to allow the chemicals to escape.
- Keep rooms ventilated with a filtered air-conditioning system.
- Use sliced lemons and baking sode to clean your kitchen and leave that lemon scent.
- Keep live plants in your home, which act as natural air purifiers.
Have Your Ducts Cleaned
Air ducts are responsible for distributing hot and cool air throughout your home and maintaining a comfortable temperature. Ducts that are improperly installed or dirty are a possible source of pollutants and particle contamination that affect indoor air quality, however. If your HVAC system has been operating for some time without a duct cleaning, it could be circulating dust, odors and other contaminants around your home.
A professional duct cleaning can reduce the potential for mold growth and eliminate odors in your home from the dirt that accumulates. On top of that, duct cleaning also extends the life of your system and ensures optimal performance.
Consider Indoor Air Quality Products
Many consumers are paying more attention to indoor air quality and its impact on health and wellness. There’s a variety of indoor air quality products on the market to combat common indoor pollutants, such as:
- Electrostatic filters.
- Electronic filters.
- UV antibacterial lights.
- In-duct odor eliminators.
- Whole-home humidifiers.
These products offer indoor air quality solutions to suit different home types and needs. Speak with an HVAC professional to learn more about the air quality options that are suitable for your home.
Visit Legacy Air
Keeping the air in your home fresh and clean requires diligence and preventative measures, but it’s worth the effort. Now that you have some tips for improving air quality and reducing pollution in your home, you’re ready to commit to cleaner, healthier indoor air.
Of course, clean indoor air starts with your HVAC system. If your system is in need of maintenance or repairs, or you just want to learn more about indoor air quality solutions, Legacy Air can help. We offer a variety of HVAC services, such as AC filter replacement and duct cleaning, as well as different products to address your indoor air quality. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!