How To Improve Indoor Air Quality
The season is upon us where we will be spending more and more time indoors. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the air we breathe indoors is two to seven times more polluted than outdoor air. Your indoor air can contain dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, airborne viruses and carbon monoxide. Nobody wants to be breathing in that stuff, yuck!
Poor indoor air quality can cause or aggravate symptoms in asthma and other related illnesses, allergies, skin irritation/dryness or cause mold growth. Not only could you and your family’s health be affected, but it can also cause damage to equipment or your home.
Below is a list of steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality. Some of these you will be able to do on your own, while others you will need to call Godby and have a trained professional take care of them.
- Put a good quality particle filter or air cleaner in your furnace/air handler. The standard 1” filter is designed to protect your equipment from dirt and debris, not clean your air. Check the filter once a month and change it when necessary. If you are not sure if you should change the filter think, “When in doubt, change it out.” Do not use heavy pleated filters. These filters restrict airflow just as a dirty filter would. If you are looking to clean the air in your home, have Godby HPE install a whole-home air purifier. These systems are easily installed in the return duct of your HVAC system. It can trap particles less than 1 micron (like pollen, dust and dander), removing those irritants from your home’s air. You probably spent the extra money for a HEPA filter on your vacuum. Don’t you think that you should spend the extra money to clean the air that you and your family breathe?
- Make sure to vent your dryer and central vacuum system directly outdoors. These systems, if vented indoors, push moisture, dust and debris right into your home.
- Vent your bathrooms, kitchens, toilets and laundry room outdoors. These rooms and the appliances in these rooms cause excess moisture leading to mold growth. Dust mites and mold thrive on moisture. Breathing mold and its spores is toxic. Your home’s humidity should be around 30-50%. A dehumidifier and running the air conditioning in the summer help reduce the moisture in the indoor air. Also, because homeowners tend to use harsher cleaners and chemicals in these rooms for cleaning, a vent can help push the fumes out of your home. There are quiet and energy efficient vents that can be installed.
- Make sure that your HVAC system is located in a safe space. Putting a HVAC system in your garage, for example, could cause you to draw contaminants right into your house. You don’t want to be drawing carbon monoxide from your car into your home do you? But we all know that sometimes moving the system is not an option. In that case, make sure that your system is properly maintained and make sure that your ductwork is sealed to prevent any air contamination.
- Store as many toxic items such as paints, cleaners, glues, solvents, pesticides etc. out of the spaces in your home that are occupied the most.
- Maintain and properly vent wood stoves, fireplaces and other indoor heating/hearth products to ensure cleaner air.
- Make sure that you have operable windows. Cleaning a room with chemicals? An open window and a vent can help get the pollutants out of the air faster.
- Keep your floors clean. Clean up dust and debris using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Mops floors to remove whatever the vacuum couldn’t. Use mats by every outside door to reduce tracking things in like pesticides or chemicals that could be on your lawn, as well as dirt and dust. Leave your shoes at the door so you don’t track these things throughout the house.
- Stop smoking. Seriously, come on now, its 2015. We all know the dangers that come from smoking. Those dangers are not relegated to the smoker alone. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and that smoke is getting into everything in your home, as well as everyone else’s lungs around you. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- Make sure that you have high quality carbon monoxide detectors in your home and they are properly maintained. Have a schedule to test them and change their batteries. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is toxic to humans. Even if you think you don’t need one because your house is all electric, did you consider your appliances or alternative heating system? Anything that uses gas, like a gas stove or a fireplace of any kind, could be emitting carbon monoxide. Better safe than sorry.
Seasonal allergies, respiratory problems and skin problems will only improve as the quality of your indoor air does. Most of the ways to improve your indoor air quality cost very little and will make a substantial difference in the air that you are breathing. If you need some help with improving your home’s air quality, call Godby. We have HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians that can help with improving and maintaining the quality of your home’s indoor air. Godby HPE will improve your home’s indoor air with a price that is fair. Call us and we will be there.