As previously discussed in one of our blogs, our indoor air quality is a problem, and it’s beginning to get worse. In 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had stated that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors; this number has likely increased due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and stay at home orders. The problem arises when our indoor air quality is up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.
To establish a baseline of your home’s air quality, homeowners can compute a Hayward Score online; this “test” determines your home’s air quality by asking you a series of questions regarding your fresh air supply, moisture issues, flooring types, and much more.
How to increase indoor air quality
VOC’s, also discussed in a previous blog, directly account for most of the everyday chemical exposure in humans; VOC levels are consistently higher indoors, up to 10 times higher. VOC’s come from paints, disinfectants, aerosol sprays, dry-cleaned clothing, and even your furniture. (Yes, we are being serious about your furniture). When using anything that releases VOC’s inside your home, wear all necessary PPE, and be sure to thoroughly ventilate the area.
A forced air system (most likely the type of AC you have in your home), works hard to keep your home at that perfect temperature year-round. AC’s have built-in filters to clean air that’s being circulated throughout your home, and after a while those filters fill up and become less and less effective; not only does this harm air quality but is also harmful for anyone with allergies or asthma. Be sure you regularly change your AC filter to ensure the cleanest air possible is running through your ducts. (This goes for all other air filters in your home)!
Many indoor air pollutants come from……the kitchen? Gas stoves release harmful contaminants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide; even electric burners produce these pollutants but at lower levels. This means that when you’re cooking, it’s a fantastic idea to always use your cooking vent or range hood. Beware, instead of properly redirecting polluted air outside your home, some styles of cooking vents filter the air before recirculating it back through the home. These types of vents are not good for your air quality and should be switched to ducted hoods. (Vents that redirect polluted air outside of your home).
Make sure you have control over the humidity in your home. Not only can high levels of humidity ruin your paint and furniture, it’s the perfect breeding ground for mold. Properly working bathroom vents do a great job in controlling moisture in your bathroom, your bathroom being a perfect place for mold growth. Mold can be present in your home even without you seeing it. It it’s hidden behind the walls or ceiling; chances are you’re breathing in compromised air without even knowing it. Long term respiratory exposure to mold leads to serious health issues in the future. Control over humidity leads to no mold which means no health problems!
While you can purchase or rent an air scrubber for your home, why not use nature’s air filters? Purchase some indoor plants to help filter the air inside your home. Just don’t forget to give them sunlight and water!
Indoor air quality is up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air and Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, that percentage likely increasing due to Covid-19.
Follow these steps to increase your air quality, ensuring a cleaner and happier home!
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