It’s time to clear the air. Itchy eyes, headaches, and fatigue can be symptoms of outdoor air pollution, but they can just as easily come from the air inside.
The short- and long-term effects of poor indoor air quality are so serious that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends people improve their home’s air quality even if they don’t notice symptoms.
Scary as this sounds, the good news is that people can control these problems. Although a home’s air can harbor a host of health threats, there are simple things anyone can do to address them.
Here are the top seven steps homeowners should take to learn how to improve indoor air quality and promote a healthy home.
1. Clean and Repair Air Ducts
Dirty ducts can be guilty of distributing particles of dust, bacteria, mold spores, and even rodent feces throughout the house. (If the air coming out of the vents smells musty or strange, it’s definitely time to be suspicious.)
Even worse, when duct debris builds up enough to cause clogs, the entire system stops running as it should.
The best duct cleaning professionals are also able to repair holes and cracks because sealed ducts are essential to an efficient system. If ductwork is truly beyond repair, it’s wise to replace it.
Consistent duct cleanups and repair will remove pollutants, prevent future clogs, and clear the way for fresh, efficient air circulation at home.
2. Reduce Chemical Use
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can cause a wide range of symptoms. They’re in many common products, including building materials, paints, furniture, cleaners, cosmetics, and craft supplies.
To help reduce exposure, people should always read and follow product instructions. If a label calls for use in a ventilated area, it’s a good idea to use the product outdoors if possible or at least open the windows.
Homeowners can buy furniture, paints, and more with no or low VOCs. Some of these products are labeled with official certifications such as GREENGUARD.
Non-toxic cleaning supplies are safer than chemical-laden options. Simple ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, citrus, and essential oils are inexpensive, effective and won’t pollute the air.
3. Maintain Systems to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Fussy furnaces and inconsistent air conditioners are begging for TLC. Putting a preventative maintenance plan in place — and sticking to it — will give them the care they need.
When systems perform at their best, they will be able to work efficiently, which means better air filtration and circulation. Homeowners save money and energy, too.
Regular heating and cooling maintenance helps keep temperatures at an even keel, which makes life at home more comfortable for everybody.
4. Purify and Filter Air Permanently
Standard heating and cooling filters need to be cleaned and changed regularly — a task that doesn’t always land at the top of the to-do list.
But there are alternatives. Installing lasting air-purifying solutions, such as a permanent HEPA air filter or custom whole-home purifier, makes maintenance easy.
HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, filters trap fine particles of dander, pollen, and more to keep them from circulating in the air — and eventually ending up in someone’s lungs.
Air purifiers can offer extra benefits, such as filters made to eliminate everyday odors from food, smoke, fragrances, and chemicals.
5. Vacuum the Floors and More
Pollutants and allergens tend to gather on all sorts of surfaces. A closed-system vacuum with a HEPA filter sucks up and traps these small particles, rather than blowing them back out into the air.
Floors, rugs, upholstery, curtains, and even walls should be vacuumed once or twice a week. People should follow the instructions for washing and changing the vacuum’s filters for the best results.
After vacuuming, surfaces can be finished with one of the simplest non-toxic cleaning solutions available: hot water and a steam mop. Microfiber and static wipes are good at picking up any remaining dust, too.
Placing mats in doorways and other strategic areas around the home helps prevent debris buildup on floors.
6. Avoid Dangerous Gases
Gases with no smell, taste, or color can lurk indoors and cause toxic exposures.
Carbon monoxide can lead to a wide range of symptoms, from fatigue to death. This gas is easy to monitor using an inexpensive device similar to a smoke detector. All homes should have these monitors on each floor.
Regularly maintaining furnaces, fireplaces, and water heaters can help prevent common causes of carbon monoxide leaks. People should never use generators indoors, run cars in enclosed areas, or use a gas oven to heat homes.
Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. Because buildings can be on top of areas where this is happening, people can be exposed to radon without knowing it. This exposure is serious, because radon is the top cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
The EPA recommends getting an easy, inexpensive radon test kit to check for levels at home. If results come in high, homeowners can take steps to reduce exposure.
7. Mold Dampens Air Quality
Mold can be a hidden cause of allergies and asthma. If walls, carpet, or other indoor materials have been wet or damp, mold may be lurking within.
The first defense against mold is to prevent materials from getting wet in the first place. Checking under sinks and other leak-prone areas can reveal a problem early. Stains on ceilings, floors, or window sills are also signs.
If there’s a leak or flood, homeowners should call professionals to dry out the area and remove damaged materials immediately.
Because HEPA filters and air purifiers remove mold fragments from the air, they can help people with allergies or asthma from mold feel better.
Learning How to Improve Indoor Air Quality Is Simple
When it comes to air quality, people have only one environment they can truly control: their homes. Homes with high-quality air come with a host of benefits including health, energy efficiency, and comfort.
Homeowners who are ready to learn how to improve indoor air quality should contact Infinity Texas Air to check their air quality and offer custom solutions today!