Poor air quality is about more than your sinuses suffering the after-effects of last night’s fish dinner. Poor indoor air quality can hurt your health. With 90 percent of a typical person’s work, school, and home time spent indoors, it’s no wonder why indoor air quality has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the top five environmental dangers facing the public today. Rest assured, however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from its damaging effects.
Improve indoor air quality with these simple solutions:
Take care of floors.
Vacuum two or more times a week.
- Vacuuming with a HEPA filters reduces lead, fire-retardant chemicals, and allergens like pollen, dander, and dust mites.
- Mopping with plain water grabs dirt and dust left behind by vacuums.
- Leave shoes outside, and place a large doormat at every door to keep dirt, pesticides and pollutants out.
Check humidity levels.
Levels of 30-50 percent moisture keep moisture loving dust mites and mold under control. In summer months, running your dehumidifier and air conditioner can help control these and other allergens.
Employ a no exceptions “no smoking” rule.
Keeping cigarette smoke and its over 4,000 chemicals out of your indoors is the single most important thing you can do to preserve indoor air quality.
Opt for natural scents.
Synthetic fragrances in air fresheners, laundry soap, dryer sheets, and household cleaners can emit chemicals associated with reduced indoor air quality. Instead of these, try naturally effective ways to manage odors such as lemon and baking soda, essential oils, and plants.
Clean those ducts, too!
Having your air ducts regularly cleaned can reduce the spread of hidden pollutants like mold, bacteria, and dust.
Keep up with your air filter.
The right air filter, and regularly changing it, can reduce airborne irritants such as mold spores, pollen, and bacteria from the air in your home, as well as extend the life of yours system.
Ensure adequate ventilation.
Properly vent combustion appliances and fireplaces away from HVAC equipment.
Open doors and windows when temperature and humidity permit.
To boost indoor air quality, consider adding mechanical ventilation such as:
Whole house ventilation
- Utilizing ductwork, whole house ventilators exchange hot indoor air with cooler outdoor air.
Heat recovery ventilators (HRV)
- HRVs utilize one fan to blow out hot, polluted air, and another to return cool, fresh air into your home. Reversible, they can be used summer or winter.
Positive input ventilation
- Mechanically push fresh air into your home, forcing stale air out through natural leakage.
Make certain ductwork is properly sealed.
This includes air handler cabinets and air filter housings, which, like ductwork, can spread dust, dirt, insulation and other debris throughout your home. Poorly sealed ductwork can also effect moisture control, resulting in mold proliferation.
Are you suffering from poor indoor air quality?
Be on the lookout for signs and symptoms such as:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.
- The worsening of asthma symptoms.