When it comes to your health, there are many tips and trends out there on how to avoid bad habits and stay in the most optimal health possible. However, one of the most important aspects to your physical health is often overlooked: the quality of your air. The quality of the air you are breathing can have a huge effect on your body. And while outdoor pollution is a huge topic of conversation in society, indoor air pollution is just as important – especially with so many working from home. Interested in your chance to be nominated to receive a free REME HALO® in May 2020?
What Affects Indoor Air Quality?
Whenever there is especially high air pollution outside, the National Weather Service will release a warning to stay inside. However, a lot of the outdoor pollution will affect the quality of your indoor air as well unless you take certain precautions to prevent it. Other common pollutants can include dander or dirt created or brought inside by any pets you might have, the usage of normal household appliances, gas leaks that might develop, mold (which is especially common in areas where there is an abundance of moisture like the bathroom), asbestos, lead, and more.
Consequences of Poor Indoor Air Quality
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, between work and home, the average American spends roughly 90 percent of their time indoors. With indoor air pollution being present from both outdoor pollution caused by greenhouse gas emissions and also indoor appliances and other factors, we have to consider how the amount of time you spend indoors could be negatively affecting your health. Many of these have a wide range of short term and long term consequences on your physical health like chest pain, asthma, lung disease, headaches, nausea, and more.
Methods for Improving Air Quality in Your Home
There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the air pollution inside your home. Here are a few first steps you can take. You can also contact your local HVAC service provider to get help on next steps and products to improve your indoor air quality.
Change Your Air Filters (see picture above)
Though it can be easy to overlook/forget, changing your A/C filters should be done like clock work. As the air conditioner gets the temperature just right in your home, it cycles the air through a filter which can stop a great deal of air pollutants from being cycled along with it. However, after dirt and dander has built up in the filter, the air is being forced through a thick layer of contaminants. This is not only bad for your air quality, but it puts a great deal of stress on your air conditioner. Consequences of neglecting maintenance such as regular filter changes can result in wasting energy and can lead to costly repairs and a shortened life span for the HVAC system all together. Other common household appliances that have filters can affect your overall air quality as well like your vacuum cleaner, dryer, and kitchen vent. Regularly cleaning or replacing these can help reduce the amount of contaminants being cycled through your home.
Reduce the Humidity in Your Home
Depending on a few details like your geographical location, age of your home, and even your appliances, your air quality might be being affected by high humidity levels inside your home. Proper ventilation is crucial in keeping your humidity levels down from simple tasks that increase those levels like using the clothes dryer and the shower. Moisture creates a breeding ground for molds and different bacteria that can do structural damage to your home as well as negatively affect the health of the people inside your home. In some cases, the addition of a strategically placed dehumidifier can do the trick, but a call to your HVAC service provider can guarantee that you are set up to effectively manage the humidity in your home.
Clean All Carpets and Rugs
The rugs and carpeting in your home do way more than add to the overall essence and decor of your home – they are a two in one purchase! Carpet naturally traps different types of dirt and dander, stopping it from circulating through the air, so it kind of works like a type of filter. However, if the carpet and rugs are not regularly cleaned, those built up contaminants will simply be adding to poor air quality. By regularly vacuuming (with a cleaned vacuum filter) and shampooing when necessary, your carpets will not only look sharp, but they will also continue functioning as helpful air quality control.
Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned
The air ducts are an essential part of your HVAC system that help transfer air throughout your home. Like the filters, dirt, dander, and different contaminants can get caught in the air ducts which can decrease the quality of the air funneling through them. Additionally, damaged or poorly installed air ducts can be a problem for not just your air quality, but the performance of your HVAC system as well. Having an HVAC technician inspect and clean your air ducts could end up saving you a lot in the short and long term, as well as help improve your health!
Use a Kitchen Ventilation
It might come as a surprise that the kitchen can be a source of a significant amount of indoor air pollution. Believe it or not, just the act of cooking on your stove top or oven releases a high amount of chemicals into the air. This is why using a high performance ventilation system every single time you cook is critical in improving the quality of air in your home. While gas burners are an obvious source of excess CO2 and other damaging chemicals, even the electric resistance burners release ultra-fine particles. But, you aren’t completely out of options for a safe stove top. One way to reduce harmful emissions is to install an induction cooktop for your stove top appliance.
However, regardless of the type of appliance, you will always want to turn on the ventilation system because, even if you are using an induction cooktop, the food itself releases different particles into the air while you are cooking it. For instance, frying an egg releases hydrogen sulfide gas into the air of your kitchen. So, just like you have a habit of washing and preparing food before cooking it, add flipping on that ventilation switch to your list.