Whether you just moved into a new place, went through renovations, or are concerned about the spread of Covid-19, there are a lot of reasons to learn more about indoor air quality. Improving the air quality inside your home can alleviate allergy symptoms, reduce the chances of developing respiratory diseases, and potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers.
With so many benefits, it's important that people take steps to improve their home's air quality. In this blog post, Miller's Well-Kept Services looks at the primary sources of indoor air pollution, the steps you can take to make immediate improvements, and where to turn if you need help.
More Than Meet the Eye
Because we can’t necessarily see it, we often forget to think about the air inside our homes. However, seeing as we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, where concentrations of many pollutants are two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations, microscopic particulate can be a big problem.
People most susceptible to these adverse effects of poor home air quality are children, elderly adults, and those with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
What Causes Indoor Pollution?
Modern life has created a whole new set of pollutants. Furthermore, while energy-efficient home construction is excellent for reducing utility bills and our carbon footprints, it can cause a lack of ventilation. With modern homes being so buttoned-up, particulate in the air takes longer to dissipate. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the most common indoor pollutants include:
Combustion byproducts such as:
Wood and coal heating
Cooking appliance exhaust
Substances of natural origin such as:
Biological agents such as
Pesticides, lead, and asbestos
Ozone (from some air cleaners)
It's important to note that most indoor pollutants come from indoor sources. While this is kind of a scary thought, it also means we have the ability to improve the situation.
6 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
If you’re on a mission to clean up the air in your home, there are some best practices you can follow to ensure you’re not breathing in indoor pollutants.
1. Replace Your Filters
If you live in a home with a forced-air heating system, you need to change your filters regularly. After a few months, they’re packed with dust and other airborne irritants. Consider the width of your filter when determining how often to change it. Typically, you should replace a:
1” - 2” furnace filter in 1 - 3 months
3” - 4” furnace filter in 6 - 9 months
5” - 6” furnace filter in 9 - 12 months
2. Develop a Minimalist Aesthetic
More stuff means more dust. So, take a day or two every few months to declutter your home. Take inventory of what you actually use and consider tossing or donating the rest of it. Not only will decluttering help you reduce dust, but research shows it can help you:
Gain control of your environment
Heighten your focus and attention span
Uplift your mood
3. Become a Shoes-off Household
Invest in a pair of house slippers so you stop wearing your shoes inside. Research shows that your kicks can drag E. coli, C. diff, Staphylococcus aureus, and pesticides inside. Furthermore, if you have a dog, especially one prone to lounging with you on the couch, consider keeping a towel near your door to wipe off its feet.
4. Invest in Air Purifiers
Air purifiers can work wonders for people with allergies. If you have a pet, these devices are even more essential. Place them in high traffic areas around the home and rooms you spend a lot of time in (e.g., bedrooms, home offices, etc.). Air purifiers reduce the presence of dust, smoke, pollen, pet dander, and other particulates. However, they do not eliminate gases from the air, such as paint fumes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or radon.
Important note: You should always have a radon and carbon monoxide detector in your home, especially in your basement. If radon is detected in your home, please visit the EPA’s resources.
5. Ventilate Your Home
Ventilation is easy to improve and will help with indoor air quality. To enhance the airflow in your home:
Open windows and doors when the weather permits
Use kitchen vents and fans
Turn on bathroom vents while cleaning
Use window and attic fans
Avoid using plastic window insulators
Run a dehumidifier in damp areas (e.g., basements)
6. Keep Your Home Clean
By keeping your home clean, you can significantly reduce the amount of dust, animal dander, and mold floating around in the air. Be sure to vacuum carpeted rooms and dust mop hard surfaces at least once a week.
Cleaning bedding, drapes, and other fabric that collect allergens on a regular basis is essential as well. And, if washing bedding that often feels like a hassle, you might instead consider using dust mite-proof pillow and mattress protectors.
Get the Help You Need
Cleaning is no small task. If you need extra hands on deck, Millers Well-Kept Services is here to help. From a quick hour-long clean to an in-depth, full-day scrub down, we’ll individualize our services to your specific needs. When you’re ready to improve the air quality in your home through a deeper clean, call Miller's Well-Kept Services at (814) 520-6025 or book an appointment with us today.
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