Let’s discuss how to improve the quality of your indoor air.
The air you breathe plays a huge role in your overall health. While you can’t control the air in other environments outside of your home (such as at work or school), you can directly improve the air that you breathe inside of your home. And that’s where it matters the most anyway.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, the average American spends 70% of their lives at home. And approximately eight hours of every day is spent asleep and unconscious to everything, including the air contaminants that you may be breathing in. It’s imperative that you control what you breathe when you can. Your very health depends on it.
But poor indoor air quality can affect more than just your respiratory health. Research shows that indoor air pollutants can lead to other serious health issues, such as higher blood pressure and greater fatigue.
Good health doesn’t just depend on a good diet and a healthy lifestyle, but it also relies on the quality of your indoor air. What you breathe in matters just as much as you eat, maybe more.
This is why it’s so important for you to control the quality of air in your home. You don’t want to create new health problems or exacerbate different ones by ignoring your indoor air quality.
When it comes to respiratory problems or even sleeping issues, most homeowners are aware that their indoor air quality plays a part, but they may not be sure why. In this post, we’ll discuss what may be affecting your indoor air quality and what you can do now to improve it.
11 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality
What can you do personally to improve your indoor air quality? Here are simple steps you can take right away:
1. Keep Your Home Clean
Your indoor hygiene will directly impact your indoor air quality. General housekeeping tips include:
- Getting rid of mold whenever you spot it (using full-strength white distilled vinegar)
- Using a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner
- Vacuum cleaning your carpets, rugs, and sofas a minimum of once per week
- Cleaning curtains, drapes, and blinds at least once a month
- Using protective covers on mattresses and pillows to prevent dust mites and other pests from settling into your bed
2. Keep Your Filters Clean
Change the filters in your home at least once per month. Your air filters trap dust and other irritants. This effectively prevents air pollutants from entering into your air ducts and freely circulating through your home.
But your air filters aren’t the only type of filter in your home that needs to be changed frequently. Don’t forget about the filter in following:
- Your clothes dryer
- Oven range hood
- Window screen
- Vacuum cleaner
- Air purifier
All of the above should be checked, cleaned, and changed regularly.
3. Ensure That You Have Proper Size Ducts
Are your ducts too large or too small for your space? Ducts are channels used for heating, ventilation, and air circulation throughout your home. But, if they’re too small, your HVAC system will have to work too hard to push the air through. And if your ducts are too large, then you won’t be able to feel the flow of the air.
Either way, the wrong-sized ducts can lead to poor air quality because it will affect circulation.
So, what’s the right size?
The ideal size for your air ducts is based on several factors, including the size of your home, the size of your HVAC unit, airflow velocity, duct friction, and the HVAC unit’s static pressure.
If you think your ducts may be to blame for your poor indoor air quality, set up a time for us to inspect it. Rely on our professional expertise to perform a full indoor air quality audit.
4. Remove Shoes
One of the easiest ways to improve your indoor air quality is by removing your shoes at the front (or back) door. Don’t wear shoes that you’ve worn outdoors throughout your home. Shoes can track dirt, pesticides, and other icky things into your home and these pollutants can get caught in your carpets or disperse into the air that you breathe. By taking off your shoes when you first come in, you’ll reduce the amount of dirt you introduce into the rest of your home.
5. Choose the Right Paint
When it’s time to renovate a space in your home, don’t go for the cheapest paint or the bargain bin. Instead, look for paints that have low to no VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. These are the gases that come from liquids or solids. In addition to paints, VOCs can come from nail polish and other cosmetics, hair spray, glue, ink, markers, cleaning products, and degreasers. These products can contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and toluene, which can lead to respiratory distress.
6. Reduce the Use of Fragrances
Spraying artificial fragrances inside your home can trigger asthma or allergies. This list includes aerosol sprays, cleaners, deodorants, hair sprays, plug-ins, and even furniture polishes. Instead of using artificial scents, opt for all natural cleaners that include actual lemons or other ingredients that are found in nature.
7. Use Hard Floor Surfaces and Keep Them Clean
Carpets can be comfortable, but it doesn’t improve the quality of your indoor air. That’s because dust, dander, and other dirt can settle on carpet and wreak havoc in your home. These pollutants can easily be re-circulated into the air whenever someone walks across the room. For this reason, it’s a good idea to opt for hard floor surfaces, like tile, wood, and vinyl. However, remember to regularly mop these hard surfaces to control dust and other pollutants.
8. Keep Humidity at the Right Level
Your home shouldn’t be too dry or too humid. Ideally, your home should have a humidity level of between 30 to 60%. This is the level that’s recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the growth of harmful mold.
Of course, your humidity level changes throughout the year. In the summer when outdoor humidity is higher, to ensure the proper indoor humidity level, you may need to install a dehumidifier. In the winter, when the air outdoors is more dry, it may be necessary to introduce a humidifier into your home. It’s a balancing act, but staying on top of it will prevent the growth of mold.
9. Clean Out Air Ducts Periodically
Your duct work can tell you a lot about your home’s air quality. Dusty, dirty, and clogged ducts can continue to re-circulate harmful particulates into the air. Contact us, your local HVAC experts, to inspect your ductwork and ensure that it’s clean and unobstructed.
10. Reduce Moisture
While your home needs to maintain a certain level of humidity, it should not be too moist. A moist home is a breeding ground for all sorts of nasties, such as molds, roaches, rodents, and dust mites. Most people are particularly sensitive to molds, which release tiny spores through the air that are invisible to the human eye. Molds grow in damp, humid areas, such as wet walls, appliances, under carpets, and even on clothes.
If the area smells musty, it indicates the presence of mold.
Mold is responsible for many allergies, headaches, watery eyes, and runny noses. It can even lead to trouble breathing and serious lung diseases, such as asthma.
Be sure to place a dehumidifier in known damp areas of the home, such as the basement or bathrooms, to cut down on the presence and growth of mold. Also, continuously run the exhaust fan in bathrooms to suck away the dampness in the space.
11. Use the HAVEN IAQ System
You can’t see what you breathe in. That’s why you need an indoor air quality sensor. It automatically detects what’s in the air and springs into action when there’s a problem.
We highly recommend the HAVEN Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) System. The HAVEN IAQ provides professional grade air quality monitoring of your entire home, not just one room. By monitoring your whole house, you and your family will be protected from harmful air contaminants.
Here’s a glimpse into how HAVEN IAQ works:
When you sign up for HAVEN IAQ, we’ll install the patented HAVEN Central Air Monitor (CAM for short) in your return duct near your air handler/ furnace. The CAM will then provide 24/7/365 monitoring of your indoor air. It checks your air quality every five minutes for harmful chemicals and airborne particles.
It also checks for relative humidity, temperature, and airflow. If something is off, then HAVEN IAQ will automatically turn on the fan and notify you and us about the potential problem. As qualified HAVEN Professionals, we can help you decide on the right steps to take to improve your indoor air quality and ensure that your system is working at peak efficiency.
If you’d like to learn more about HAVEN IAQ, and how this technology can dramatically improve the quality of your air, schedule an appointment with us here.
Are you ready to take control of your air quality?
When you improve your indoor air quality, you’ll breathe easier, sleep better, and enjoy respiratory health. And you can save more money because you won’t need to shell it out for doctor’s appointments.