Your home is a sanctuary. It’s where your kids are growing up, where your guests gather on holidays, and where you relax at the end of a busy day. Clean, healthy air is a major factor in creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere. So this guide is full of tips for improving your indoor air quality.
CAUSES OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
When you think of pollution, images of smog, ozone, haze, etc. probably pop in your head. Not only is it possible for these to contaminate your home, there’s a variety of other problems that could lower your indoor air quality. The most common pollutants in a home usually include:
- Lead, often from paint.
- Radon, through cracks in the foundation, or gaps around service pipes.
- Formaldehyde, off gassing from furniture.
- Dust collecting on shelves or in vents.
- Pet dander.
- Cooking and food particles.
- Mold, often in the basement, bathrooms or behind walls.
NAB CONTAMINANTS AT THE SOURCE
Removing the source of contamination is the most effective way to reduce indoor air pollution. This may include:
- Making your home smoke free.
- Controlling humidity to prevent mold from growing. A fan in the bathroom and a dehumidifier in other areas will help remove moisture from the air. Air conditioners with built in humidity control are a must have.
- If you have mold already, small amounts can be removed with warm soap and water (bleach isn’t necessary). Larger amounts should be removed by a professional.
- Fix leaks in hoses, connections, tubs, sinks, showers, etc. to ensure mold doesn’t form there.
IN THE KITCHEN
Ensure that fuel-burning appliances are installed and maintained properly. Gas or oil furnaces, gas water heaters, gas or wood stoves should be inspected annually, along with the chimneys and flues.
Cooking of course adds particles and pollutants into the air. Try using the back burner more than the front, as the exhaust fan will be better able to pick up any particles and gasses.
AN ATTACHED GARAGE?
Most people know not to idle their car in the garage for long, especially without opening the door first. You also want to limit how long your gas-powered lawn mower or snow blower runs in the garage.
If you do a lot of work in the garage it may be worth installing its own ventilation system. Chemicals from paint, stains, varnish, paint thinner, and more easily make their way into the home.
Many allergens, chemicals and particles we discussed earlier land and remain on the floor. Vacuuming and mopping regularly will help. You don’t need any cleaning products for the floors, a wet microfiber mop is best. If you really wanted to use something though, stick to a pH-neutral cleaning product that won’t add to the chemicals in your home.
Use mattress and pillow protectors. You may find success in vacuuming your mattress when your sheets are in the wash. This will help eliminate skin cells, pet dander, hairs, and other contaminants that get trapped.
Wash your curtains and dust your blinds, it’s amazing how much can pile up in a week. Dust settles anywhere; be especially diligent in your bedroom. Vacuuming behind the bed every time you flip or rotate your mattress is a good habit to get into.
FILTER YOUR AIR
Once you eliminate current contaminants from the source, it’s a good idea to improve ventilation. Portable air cleaners, such as HEPA filters or electrostatic precipitators work well. The HEPA filter collects very fine particles with a filter, while the electrostatic precipitator uses electrostatic energy to collect pollutants.
One of the best filters you can bring into your home is a UV Light Air Purifier. There are self-cleaning models available that attack microorganisms on a molecular level, destroying the contaminant.