Is the Indoor Air You Breathe Healthy?
Your home should be your sanctuary, but did you know that the air inside your home (and other indoor spaces) could be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside? In some cases, it may be much worse.
Chemicals, mold, particulates and poor ventilation compromise indoor air quality.
Many of the items that make their way into your home emit thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particles into the air. Although these compounds can contribute to a number of health problems, they are not generally identified on product labels. VOCs are used in many household items such as furnishings and building materials, as well as cleaners, laundry products and air fresheners containing synthetic fragrance.
Additionally, dust, dirt and debris containing pollutants and irritants come into your home on people’s shoes. Mold, which is caused by moisture, is another source of VOCs and particulates.
- Use cleaners and laundry products that don’t contain harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances. (Fragrance-free products are a great option.)
- Don’t use aerosol sprays.
- Keep large doormats at each entry to catch the majority of dust, dirt and pollutants on shoes. Consider making your home a shoe-free zone.
- Choose a natural alternative to pesticides. If you must use harsh chemicals, do so sparingly and with great caution. Always read labels and follow directions carefully.
- Maintain a healthy humidity level (30%-50%) to keep dust mites, mold and other allergens under control. Fix leaks and moisture problems to prevent mold growth.
- Keep indoor plants to clean the air naturally and brighten your space. Ferns, spider plants and aloe are excellent natural air purifiers. (If you have kids or pets, choose plants that are safe for them.) Be sure not to overwater your plants; overwatering can result in mold growth.
- Vacuum, mop and dust often. HEPA filters in vacuums prevent dust and dirt from blowing back through the exhaust. Microfiber dusters and mops trap dirt without the use of cleaners or chemicals.
- Don’t smoke. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 harmful chemicals and secondhand smoke poses a serious health risk to children.
- Open your windows. Fresh air can prevent the build-up of toxic chemicals.
- Maintain your HVAC system. Be sure to replace your furnace filters regularly.
- Talk to an HVAC expert about a whole home air cleaner and humidification system. A whole home system is the best solution to getting rid of 99% of indoor contaminants, as well as maintaining that healthy humidity level in your home to alleviate allergy and asthma triggers.
HVAC professionals can help you with your questions regarding the best indoor air quality solutions for your home. And don’t forget to schedule your regular maintenance appointment.