Pollutants in Your Home Come From Outside and Inside, Learn how to Maintain Your Indoor Air Quality & Breathe Easy
You may already know that outdoor air is filled with pollutants from everyday things like cars, busses and factories – but your home is also susceptible to potentially harmful toxins and pollutants. Low air quality in your home could result in serious effects on your mood and has been linked to health issues such as asthma, fatigue and lung disease.
According to the EPA, Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of the air in and around buildings, specifically as it relates to the comfort and health of the occupants. Understanding and managing common household pollutants could dramatically increase your homes IAQ.
Potential Long Term Issues:
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Reactions vary from person
They may sound scary, but some of these immediate effects can be remedied by eliminating the source of the pollutant. Diseases, such as asthma, may be worsened by the presence of some indoor air pollutants. However, it’s important to remember that reactions vary from person to person.
Combustion Pollutants: Particles and gases that emanate from appliances such as space heaters, wood stoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers and fireplaces that are either improperly ventilated or not ventilated at all.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): VOCs are organic chemicals that are released from solids and liquids. They can be found in household products like paints, varnishes, cleaning products, disinfectants, building materials, pesticides, glues, air fresheners and more.
Asthma & Allergy Triggers: These are common triggers for asthma and allergies such as mold, dust
Beyond everyday pollutants, in-home disasters like flooding water damage or unseen leakage from a broken pipe could cause enough moisture to produce toxic mold that can spread through your home. If the affected area is too big or too hidden to be handled on your own, it’s time to call the professionals. Once the affected flooded area has been restored, it is imperative that the area be kept dry to prevent any future toxins in your air.
Easy Ways to Keep Your Indoor Air Quality Fresh
Keeping your indoor air fresh and your family healthy is as simple as keeping things clean!
Find the Source: According to the EPA, one of the most effective ways to improve IAQ is to eliminate the source of the pollutant or reduce its emissions. This is typically also a more cost effective approach to protecting the indoor air quality in your home.
Open windows: Improve ventilation by opening doors and windows, as well as using a window fan.
Ventilation is particularly important when participating in activities that can generate pollutants like painting, heating with kerosene, cooking, welding, soldering or sanding as these can be toxic when concentrated.
Additionally, shading and ventilation can contribute to controlling temperatures as well as the removal/dilution of airborne pollutants.
Keep it Clean: Specifically those in your heater, furnace, air conditioner, air purifier and vacuums since these are the items that collect the pollutants that come from both indoors and outdoors.
Pay attention to humidity levels: Ideally, your home should have about 45% humidity levels. 30% is too dry, while anything over 50% is too humid and could contribute to the growth of mold in unseen areas of your home. Use a humidifier to increase levels and open windows (if it’s not raining or humid) or turn on a fan/ac to decrease levels, you can also use a dehumidifier.
Keep it organic: Steer clear of synthetic air fresheners or petroleum based candles. Opt for organic air fresheners, essential oil burners, or soy/beeswax candles as they don’t emit any harmful chemicals.
Be picky with your paint and products: Use paints with low or no VOCs, choose non-toxic adhesives, varnishes and finishes when possible. Pay attention to what’s going in to your household products.
Plants! Plants! Plants!: One plant has the potential to increase the air quality and reduce VOCs for every 50 feet of your home, so put plants everywhere! Some indoor plants have been proven by NASA to have air filtering qualities, such as:
Dwarf Date Palm
Kimberly Queen Fern
Broadleaf Lady Palm
Varigated Snake Plant
Red Edged Dracaena
Use eco friendly, non-toxic cleaners and supplies
Invest in a good vacuum
Minimize carpets throughout the home
Buy a reusable microfiber dust-mop to reach the nooks a vacuum can’t