If you or anyone else in your household struggles with common respiratory problems like allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you probably already appreciate how important it is to be able to breathe clean air. However, the air quality in your home may be more dangerous to your health than the air outdoors. According to EPA estimates, the levels of indoor air pollutants can be up to two to five times higher than they are outside.
Airborne pollutants such as volatile organic chemicals, secondhand cigarette smoke, lead particles and mold can all pose a risk to you and your family. What can you do to make the air in your house safer for everyone, so you can all breathe a little easier? Read on for our expert advice.
Clean homes are healthier homes. If you deep-clean regularly, you can keep the levels of dust and pet dander to a minimum. Vacuum at least once per week – especially if you have pets – and don’t overlook bedding, drapes and other items that tend to attract allergens.
There’s nothing better than the feeling of having a squeaky-clean home, but not at the cost of cleaning products triggering your allergies and causing breathing issues. Many commercially available cleaners are full of dangerous chemicals that linger in the air such as chlorine and ammonia. Make DIY cleaners instead with ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice, or buy organic ones if you don’t have time to whip up a batch.
The air filters in your home can trap pet dander, dust, pollen, mold spores and other nasties that create breathing problems. Filters can’t do their job well if you allow them to get clogged up. Check the instructions on the filters for the manufacturer’s recommendations on how frequently to install new ones, and put a reminder on your phone to get it taken care of on time. Your lungs will thank you!
When it’s time to replace your furniture, pay attention to their components. Many furniture manufacturers use glues, varnishes and lacquers that contain toxic chemicals such as phthalates and formaldehyde. The furniture continues to release these toxins into the atmosphere for years after you bring it into your home, dramatically worsening the indoor air quality. To avoid this problem, select your furniture carefully. Research what components the manufacturer uses in creating their products. Avoid pieces made from particleboard.
Not only is natural greenery a beautiful addition to any home décor, but many plants naturally purify the air through the process known as photosynthesis, which enables them to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. If you’re reluctant to bring plants into your home because you believe you have a “black thumb,” here are some plants that improve indoor air quality while simultaneously being easy to take care of.
Ideal in-home humidity levels should hover around 45%. Adjust your humidity levels accordingly with a moisture or humidity gauge, available at most hardware stores.
During the winter, air that is too dry can cause a variety of problems, including coughing, chapped lips, dry skin and those annoying static electricity shocks. It can also make your home feel colder. A humidifier will noticeably improve your indoor environment’s air quality and comfort by adding moisture to the air. If anyone in your family is experiencing breathing issues, running a small humidifier in their bedroom at night will help them sleep better.
Conversely, in the summer, air that has excessive moisture levels can lead to the growth of mold and mildew in your home, triggering allergies and asthma attacks. In this case, adding a dehumidifier can help bring the indoor humidity back to healthy levels.
Your air ducts work hard to distribute hot and cold air throughout your home, keeping each room at a comfortable climate. But poorly maintained ducts can distribute contaminants from one room to another. Over time, dust, dander and even mold can build up in your ducts, reducing the overall air quality. Schedule a professional air duct cleaning to make sure your ducts are circulating fresh, clean air.
We all love our furry family members, but pet dander is another common culprit behind indoor air pollution. If you’re a pet parent, make sure you thoroughly brush your dog or cat’s coat, and afterward, vacuum all your carpeting, floors and furnishings using a vacuum cleaner equipped with an onboard HEPA filter.
The steady drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet is more than a minor annoyance – unaddressed leaks can not only drive up your water bills, but they can also encourage mold and mildew growth around your plumbing fixtures. To protect your household health, call a professional plumber to help detect and repair leaks.
Radon and carbon monoxide are colorless, odorless gases that can contribute to a host of health issues if you don’t catch their presence in time. Invest in radon and carbon monoxide detectors, regardless of the age of your home.
When you think about how much of your time you and your family spend indoors – especially in the winter – it makes sense to care about the quality of the air in your home. These tips can help you find relief from your respiratory issues and fight back against indoor air pollution.
If you’d like more advice on how to breathe more freely in your home, contact us at Maichle’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We offer high-quality, professional HVAC and plumbing maintenance and repairs. Schedule a quote or service request today.