6 Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
Many of us consider our home as a place of safety and comfort. It’s the place where we come home after a long, stressful day at work. It is where we raise our family and make new memories.
What most people don’t realize is their home isn’t as clean and safe as they assume. The U.S. EPA estimates that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The quality of your indoor air can negatively impact your family’s health. That said, you need to take steps to improve your indoor air quality to provide a safe environment for your loved ones.
Breathe easy and keep your home’s air clean with these six easy tips.
Control humidity in your home
Most people tend to attribute indoor air quality to pollutants, such as dust, pollen, and other contaminants. But the truth is, humidity levels in your home can affect your air quality, comfort, and overall health.
If it’s too high, the air becomes stuffy, making it more difficult to breathe. Mold and mildew start to grow when indoor relative humidity is above 60%. If it’s too low, it can leave your skin parched, eyes itching, sore throat, and your body feeling dehydrated.
You can avoid adverse effects that stem from humidity by keeping an eye on your home’s humidity level.
Homes are more sealed now, thanks to the widespread use of HVAC systems. Poor ventilation can, unfortunately, result in poor indoor air quality.
Polluted air combined with poor indoor air quality causes sick building syndrome. The symptoms include headache, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea, dry cough, and eyes, nose, and throat irritation.
One easy way to improve indoor air quality is to open windows and bring in as much fresh air as possible. You can also use a fan to encourage better air movement.
Exhaust fans can also help by drawing air in your home and venting it outside. Make it a habit to turn on the exhaust fan when cooking or taking a shower, and then leave it running for 15-20 minutes after.
Change your HVAC filter regularly
When was the last time you changed your HVAC filter? If you can’t remember, then that’s a sign that it needs to be replaced immediately.
Your air filter traps airborne contaminants to clean your air. The longer the filter remains in place, the more dirt and pollutants it will trap. When they get clogged, these pollutants will be circulating throughout your home without you even knowing it.
As a general rule, you want to replace your air filters every 90 days. If you have pets, then you need to change your filters more often. The same goes if you have family members who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Changing your HVAC filter regularly will not only help improve your indoor air quality; it can also help your HVAC system function more efficiently and increase its lifespan.
Test for radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Unfortunately, it is common in many homes across the country.
Whether you live in an old or new home, we highly recommend having it tested for radon. Why? Because it’s the only way to find out whether you have radon in your home. Don’t worry. It’s an easy and inexpensive test. It will only cost you $49. Knowing your home is safe and radon-free is priceless!
Make your home a no-smoking zone
Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 fatalities each year in the U.S. alone. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 deaths a year.
Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals. Even worse, the smoke doesn’t just float in the air. It is also absorbed in the carpet, beddings, furniture, and even your clothing. Imagine how poor your indoor air quality is if someone smokes inside the house.
Secondhand smoke has no safe level. So please keep your home a no-smoking zone.
Use low or no-VOC products
Some of the products in your home, like cleaning supplies, plastic, and even laundry detergents, contain VOC or volatile organic compounds. Although these products seem harmless, they have potentially harmful chemicals that can be toxic, especially for children.
Exposure to VOC can lead to headache, nausea, shortness of breath, eyes, nose, and throat irritation. Long-term exposure can put you at risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, as well as kidney or liver damage. Protect your family against this toxic substance by using low or no-VOC products.