11 Tips For Better Indoor Air Quality
Most people spend a disproportionate amount of time inside a building. While the outdoor air quality gets a lot of attention, what we breathe inside is often neglected. Considering how much time people spend breathing inside, the quality of that air should be of utmost importance. Consider these 11 simple tips for improving your indoor air quality:
1. Improve Your Ventilation
One of the most important and easiest things to do is improve ventilation. Whether that is opening windows or turning on ventilation fans, moving old air out and drawing in fresh new air is important. This helps improve the balance of gases in the air while reducing the buildup of toxins and allergens inside.
Running ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathroom is important. This cuts back on allergens in the air and helps keep humidity under control, reducing mold and mildew.
2. Change Your Filters
Everyone knows that you are supposed to change your furnace filters. Doing so helps maintain the right volume of air coming from your circulation fan and reduces the strain on your furnace and air conditioner. However, regardless of how long they are supposed to last, check your filters regularly. When they get clogged, they stop working properly and become a major source of allergens.
Your furnace filters are not the only ones you should consider either. If you have a space heater or window air conditioning unit, you should look for their filters there. Also, your vacuum cleaner likely has at least one filter, and many have two different filters. Be sure to check these regularly and either replace or clean them. This will improve your air quality as well.
3. Test for Radon
Radon is an odorless and tasteless radioactive gas, making it incredibly difficult for the average person to detect. Specific tests are available to test for radon, so you can determine if it is a problem in your home. If you have never tested for this gas, you should at least once.
Many people think they are safe from radon because they do not have a basement or because their home is new or sealed. The reality is that radon comes from the decay of uranium that naturally occurs in many soils. That means the building age or construction has little to do with your exposure, though they could increase your risk. The best thing to do is to test and know for sure.
4. Reduce Allergens
It is common sense that reducing allergens in your space will help you breathe more easily. However, many people do not realize some of the easy things they can do to reduce that exposure.
One of the best ways to reduce allergens is to maintain a clean space. This means regularly vacuuming, washing linens, dusting, and doing laundry. It also means reducing clutter. All of this helps to cut down on microscopic allergens like dust mites.
5. Deal With Mold and Mildew Quickly
Mold and mildew cause problems for many people. It does not matter whether it is mold in your walls or you forgot to hang up a towel after showering, the effect is the same. Mold and mildew are not only triggers for some people’s allergies, but they can also lead to a host of health problems including sinus and respiratory infections.
If you do find mold or mildew starting to form, work to remove it quickly. Use appropriate cleaners and products to help remediate the problem. In extreme cases, you may consider replacing drywall or flooring.
The best way to deal with mold and mildew is to keep it from forming in the first place. Increasing air circulation will help with this, especially in rooms that tend to have more moisture. A dehumidifier may also help prevent this during the summer months.
6. Reduce Hidden Toxins
There are many items throughout your home that let off toxic gas, even if you cannot smell it. These includes mattresses, furniture, even the paint on your walls. Even after allowing for proper airing or drying, many of the chemicals they contain will continue to produce gases indefinitely. Reducing these in your home as much as possible will help improve your air quality. Some of the materials and chemicals found in common household items that produce these gases include:
- Formaldehyde from wrinkle-free materials
- Polyurethane foam
- Fire retardants
- Furniture glues
- Furniture finishes
7. Consider Natural Cleaning Products
Many people are beginning to understand the impact of chemical cleaners on both the environment and their health. These cleaners detract from the quality of the air in more ways than just the smell. A lot of these cleaners also produce free radicals, which are known to encourage the development of cancer.
Consider switching to natural, plant-based cleaners. These have been shown to be just as effective as their chemical counterparts. However, you will help improve the air you breathe while cleaning.
8. Maintain Optimal Humidity Levels
Indoor humidity is a fine balance. If you have too much humidity, you encourage the development of mold and mildew. With too little humidity, people experience breathing problems, increased respiratory issues, and dry skin. The optimum humidity level is between 30%-50%.
If you do run a humidifier to help maintain the right level, be sure to clean it regularly. Many humidifiers are a breeding ground for mildew. Empty the humidifier if you are not going to be using it every night. Water sitting for long periods encourages mildew and algae to form.
9. Check the Shoes
Many people choose to remove shoes at the door, and for good reason. At a minimum, it helps protect flooring and keeps dirt at the door. This is actually an important consideration for air quality as well. By keeping these particles at the door, you make it easier to remove them and keep them out of the air.
The other thing you can do to help with this is using a two-mat approach. Put one outside the door to help capture water and dirt before they enter your home. Then a second one inside the door acts as an additional barrier.
10. Consider Using Essential Oils
Essential oils have grown in popularity because of their pleasant smell and purported health benefits. For air quality, studies have shown that they help produce negatively charged ions. This means that you get the benefit of a toxic-free aroma plus cleaner air.
11. Clean Your HVAC System
Be sure to clean your HVAC system regularly as well. Of particular focus should be the circulating fan and the ductwork throughout your building. These are two areas that collect a lot of dust with use. If your HVAC system is dirty, running it will circulate allergens throughout your air.
Trusted Air Quality Experts
The technicians at Air Max HVAC, Inc are experts in indoor air quality control. Whether you need an air quality audit or maintenance to your existing system, our team is ready to help. With an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, we are the trusted name to call in Thousand Oaks, CA. Our qualified technicians can offer assistance with heating and cooling repair, maintenance, and replacement services. We also offer energy and indoor air quality assessments. Call us today to learn all the ways we can help with your indoor air comfort needs.Tags: Air Quality, Home Comfort, IAQ