The air quality of your home can vary widely depending on several things. Here, we'll run down what affects your home's air the most.
Controlling allergens and tobacco smoke could prevent many cases of childhood asthma, according to a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. There are about 26 million Americans with asthma. Better air quality could make a significant difference in their lives.
Of course, the quality of the air you and your family breathe is important to you. But what affects the quality of the air in your home, and what can you do about it? Read on to learn what you can do to improve the air quality in your home.
Air Quality Matters
Asthma isn't the only problem caused by contaminated air. Polluted air may not be easy to spot, but if you have health issues, they may be the result of hidden contamination of your home's air.
Do you have headaches or nausea? Do you sometimes feel dizzy or fatigued? Do your nose and eyes feel itchy, and does your throat feel scratchy?
These common symptoms could indicate that the air quality in your home is poor.
Why Is Your Home Polluted?
Modern homes are designed to be comfortable in all weather conditions and to be cost-effective. Airtight homes are better at conserving energy, and insulation keeps the warmth in. The result is that any pollutants in your home tend to stay in your home.
In the past, homes had draughts and air movement between the outside environment and the inside of the house. It may have meant homes were cold in winter and warm in summer, but at least there was proper ventilation. Hazardous air didn't accumulate in homes.
Some modern materials can introduce pollutants. Some fabrics, paint and other building materials have chemicals in them that are released into the air, without ventilation that can accumulate and may be damaging to your health.
So-called volatile organic compounds are emitted from solvents, paint, and many cleaning products. These have been identified as having serious health effects, including liver damage, cancer, and damage to the central nervous system. Contamination by volatile organic compounds has been shown to persist long after their use in the home.
1. Use Your Stove Vent
If your stove is fitted with an air vent, use it regularly. Some people might use this vent only occasionally.
If you think your stove vent is only for those occasions when you burn something or perhaps when the food you're cooking is producing a lot of steam, think again. Cooking can produce moisture in your home that encourages the growth of harmful molds. Extracting moist air helps reduce this.
Any gas appliance that is burning gas produces pollutants. Drawing air away from the appliance and out of your home reduces the accumulation of harmful contaminants.
Your stove vent minimizes the air pollutants in your home, so using it helps keep your air healthy but only if it is working properly. Remember, the stove vent is only effective if the vent is serviced periodically.
2. Air Conditioning Service
Good ventilation and airflow in your home remove contaminants. The bad air is replaced with good fresh air. An effective air conditioning system not only cools the air, but it removes excess moisture and contaminants.
Keeping your air conditioning and, indeed your heating in good order is vital if you want the health benefits they can provide. Have faults repaired and keep up routine maintenance.
Filter changes are essential for maintaining air quality and the energy efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines on the frequency of filter changes. It's a simple task, takes very little time, and is an inexpensive way of maintaining your air quality.
Air flows around heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems via ductwork. This ductwork seems much less important than the other much more complex HVAC equipment. Ductwork can be a contributor to air problems in your home.
Some contaminants can be deposited on the lining of this ductwork. Mold can grow inside the ductwork and release harmful pollutants. Dust and pet dander can be taken into the ductwork and distributed to other rooms in your home.
3. Deep Clean
Regular cleaning of your home can remove some contaminants. Pet hairs, dust, and other particles are picked up by regular vacuuming and dusting. This level of cleaning is helpful, but you can do more to remove pollutants from your home.
A deep cleaning of carpets and soft furnishing is needed to remove more ingrained dirt. This dirt harbors harmful bacteria and molds. Shampooing carpets a few times each year, especially if you have pets, will improve their cleanliness and air quality.
Humidity encourages mold growth. Reducing humidity removes one of the things molds need to live. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioning unit to remove moisture from the air in your home.
If you don't have a de-humidifier, then ventilate your home as much and as often as you can. Use fans to encourage air circulation—open windows and doors to ventilate your home.
Don't allow water to accumulate inside your home. Check washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers aren't contributing to moisture levels in your home. Try to dry clothes outside or use a dryer that is vented to the outside rather than dry clothes inside your home.
5. Smoking Ban
Cigarette smoke is a major contributor to lung and heart disease. It's true for both smokers and people who live or work with smokers. Having cigarette smoke in the closed environment of your home affects everybody in that home.
Don't smoke inside your home, and don't allow others to do so either.
6. Green Cleaning
Having plants inside your home is attractive and can be relaxing too. Some plants remove other harmful chemicals.
Barberton Daisies remove formaldehyde and benzene that are found in some cleaning products. English Ivy reduces mold. Chrysanthemums can absorb toxins such as ammonia.
Breathe Healthy Air
Take care of your air quality. You'll be taking care of yourself and your family too. It's part of living a healthier life.