Few people realize the health dangers of a home’s poor air quality. The American Lung Association cites poor indoor air can cause asthma, exhaustion, headaches, lung infections and lung cancer.
Causes of indoor air pollution include high indoor temperature, excessive humidity, and poor ventilation in energy efficient modern homes. Sources include carpet, paint, furniture, building materials. The pollutants involved include formaldehyde, fire-retardants, lead, volatile organic chemicals, radon and others. By providing simple care and fresh air, combined with effective products installed in the home’s heating and air conditioning system, healthier air can be provided for your home.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Since modern homes are airtight to reduce energy costs, indoor air pollutants can’t escape or be diluted with incoming outdoor air. Indoor air quality is improved by two methods, the products than clean the air and are installed in conjunction with the home’s heating and air conditioning system, and simple steps to reduce indoor pollutants. The following are a few tips for improving indoor air quality:
Keep the Floors Clean
Chemicals and allergens can build up over time in household dust. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter can reduce the concentrations of contaminated dust.
Mopping removes dust that has settled after vacuuming, and only water is required to capture them. Microfiber mops and dust cloths are the best products for capturing more dust and don’t require cleaning solutions.
Placing a large floor mat at every door or removing shoes will prevent chemicals and irritants from the outside environment being tracked into the home.
Control the Indoor Humidity Level
Dust mites and mold thrive in a moist environment. Maintaining a humidity of about 30% – 50% will assist in keeping these and other allergens under control. Air conditioning helps to reduce the moisture in the air. However, when humidity levels are extremely high, the air conditioning system may not be able to maintain healthy levels of moisture. When this occurs, a whole house dehumidifier is needed and can be installed in conjunction with the homes heating and air conditioning system.
Make Your Home a Smoke Free Zone
Second hand cigarette smoke is one of the worst indoor pollutants and contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of children developing ear and/or respiratory infections, asthma, cancer and even sudden infant death syndrome.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that significantly raises the risk of lung cancer, and is in fact, the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soil types. It enters homes through cracks and holes in the foundation. Studies have found that granite countertops have also been linked to radon. Testing is easy, inexpensive, and takes only just a few minutes.
Natural Products for Cleaning
Synthetic fragrances found in a number of laundry and cleaning products emit dozens of different chemicals into the home’s indoor air, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include those that are regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. These chemicals weren’t included on the label, and were found only through testing. The actual composition of the fragrance is considered a trade secret and isn’t required to be listed.
The solution for this problem is to look for fragrance-free or natural products. Change to natural cleaners that don’t include artificial fragrances, and avoid the use of aerosol sprays such as deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.
Provide Fresh Air
Provide fresh air in your home as often as possible. Airing the home out will dilute the pollutants and typically makes the home smell fresh.
For questions, concerns or to schedule service or installation with Minuteman Heating & Air, contact us. Our HVAC and air quality experts can assist you with the selection of products to improve your home’s indoor air quality, or other heating and air conditioning needs.