Indoor air quality is a rising concern as we learn more about pollutants and contaminants inside our homes. Pollution isn’t limited to the air outside; any home can face challenges with poor indoor air quality.
Particles in the Air Contribute to Poor Indoor Air Quality
Pet dander, dust, mold, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products or building materials may be present in the air inside our homes.
Especially in newer homes, tightly-sealed windows and doors prevent natural ventilation. We breathe in particles that are trapped in our air and this affects our respiratory systems. Chronic allergies, headaches, asthma symptoms, and bronchial infections are signs that indoor air quality may be a problem.
Aerosols and Other Irritants
Many homeowners use aerosol cleaning supplies, hair care products, and other items. These products add contaminants to the air each time they are used. Air freshener plug-ins can irritate breathing passages with the scents they release into the air. Paint and glue from craft projects also contribute to air pollution. To reduce irritation, make sure there’s sufficient ventilation in crafting, cooking, and bathroom areas.
Pets in the Home Affect Indoor Air Quality
When an issue over indoor air quality arises, the cause isn’t always chemical. Pets contribute to air pollution indoors, but how well you maintain your environment can improve the quality of the air.
- Wipe off your dog’s feet when they come inside.
- Use an enclosed cat litter box with a filter.
- Brush and bathe pets regularly. Wipe them down when they come inside to remove pollen and dander from their coats.
- If you have to remove animals from your home due to allergies or compromised health issues, find a friend, family member, or no-kill shelter to take them in.
The HVAC System
The furnace and the A/C unit in your home can contribute to poor air. Inspect systems twice a year to detect and correct problems that affect efficiency and air quality. Your HVAC system has filters that are designed to help clear the air. Use high-quality filters and invest in humidifiers or dehumidifiers depending on what your environment requires. Let your system work for you and your health.
Clear the Room to Improve Indoor Air
Declutter your home. Boxes of stored items, piles of clothing, knick-knacks, and shelves of books can hold dust, mold, and other contaminants. Preserve your collection by storing it in a cabinet with glass doors. This protects your belongs and reduces the amount of dust they accumulate.
Donate unused items, put clothing away, launder bedding and drapes frequently, and dust your entire house on a regular basis. The fewer possessions you have, the easier your home will be to clean, which means better indoor air quality for you and your family.
Improve Air Quality
Other ways you can improve the quality of the air in your home include:
- regularly vacuum carpets using a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- open windows to allow fresh air to circulate
- ask smokers to smoke outside
- use bath and kitchen ventilation fans when showering or cooking
- choose natural cleaning products or make your own
- add houseplants that purify the air
- have your home tested for radon gas and for mold