Is your indoor air stuffy and polluted? You’re putting your health at risk. Here’s what you can do to reduce air pollution in your home.
Did you know that the EPA has included poor indoor air quality in the top five biggest environmental risks to public health?
Breathing in toxins and irritants can cause or worsen respiratory issues such as asthma, chronic congestion, and more. Children, in particular, are at high risk of developing or exacerbating these symptoms as a result of poor indoor air quality.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce air pollution within your home and ensure that you are breathing clean air.
Read on for the 7 most effective ways to boost your home’s indoor air quality.
1. Get Your HVAC System Checked Out
Most homeowners run their HVAC system for at least six months out of the year. As air is pushed through the ducts, dust, grime, and moisture get caught in those tight, hard-to-reach corners. When you get your HVAC inspected by a professional, they can clear out any airborne irritants or mold spores found in your air ducts.
In addition, they can make sure that all components are clean and functional. For example, if your condenser coil is gunked up, your HVAC cannot properly dispense heat outside of your home. This creates a much muggier feeling indoors that can make breathing difficult.
2. Keep Track of Air Filters
While we’re on the subject of your HVAC system when was the last time you changed your indoor filters?
Forced-air heating and cooling systems pump outdoor air into your home. The filters are put in place to remove any allergens or irritants from the air before it is dispersed indoors. It is imperative that you change these filters every two to three months and use high-performance brands that can filter out even the smallest of particles.
3. Clean, Replace, or Remove Carpeting
Carpeting is a big culprit when it comes to indoor air pollution. The majority of the airborne irritants in your home will eventually settle into the pile of your carpet, getting kicked back up by your feet, pets, furniture, or even the vacuum.
Develop a regular carpet cleaning schedule to reduce pollutants. Vacuum at least once a week and commit to a deep cleaning every six months to a year. If your carpeting is showing signs of water damage of dry rot, replace it.
If your air quality is particularly bad or you have serious respiratory issues, consider removing your carpeting altogether.
4. Tackle Mold
Mold spores pose a moderate to severe health risk, depending on the mold in question. Exposure to black mold, for example, can cause congestion, headaches, and difficulty breathing.
Pay attention to high-moisture areas like the bathroom and under the sink. Address any leakages you come across and consider installing dehumidifiers in areas that tend to stay damp.
Cleaning products containing bleach will take care of your mold problem. If you prefer a more natural solution, white vinegar can also do the trick, although you will need to tackle your mold issue early on.
5. Open Your Windows
When your indoor air comes to a standstill, there is no circulation of the pollutants that are causing you trouble. Make sure that you are opening windows as much as possible and turning on ceiling and floor fans to get the air moving.
Note that if you live near a high-traffic road, you should avoid opening your windows during peak hours.
6. Control Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Not all indoor air pollution comes from airborne irritants like dust and mold spores. Some of that pollution is actually coming from features and appliances that aren’t properly contained.
For example, asbestos needs to be monitored closely. Houses built before 1975 often contain asbestos in the insulation, floor tiles, siding, roofing, and more. When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic particles that are dangerous to breathe in.
Some of these elements, such as your flooring and roofing, are replaceable. However, it is not always quick or cost-effective to replace insulation that contains asbestos. Instead, make sure that your walls are sealed and that the insulation is not touched by your indoor air.
You should also have appliances like wood-burning stoves, gas stoves, and kerosene heaters inspected on a regular basis. These appliances release carbon monoxide and it is important that they are functioning as intended and that all doors, pumps, and knobs are properly fitted.
7. Invest in Air Purifiers
The majority of the tips we’ve discussed are preventative. Staying on top of cleaning, maintenance, and ventilation can help you to avoid contributing to your indoor air pollution.
Air purifiers are a great way to further reduce air pollution indoors because they can filter out any irritants or toxic gases that don’t disappear after you’ve implemented more preventative measures.
There are a lot of options out there, some of which only tackle airborne irritants like dust. In order to maximize your investment, you’re going to want to find the best air purifier on the market that addresses your specific needs.
Reduce Air Pollution to Boost Your Health
Many of us recognize that air pollution around the globe is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. However, we may forget that a lot of that poor air quality can be found right in our own homes. In order to maintain good health, we have to reduce air pollution indoors as well as outdoors.
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