Seems I’m continually thinking about the air quality inside our old house – and trying to improve it. So I was happy to see this guest post with a few tips on doing just that.
The following is a contributed post. For more information on my contributed posts, please see this page.
How To Combat Indoor Air Pollutants
Once your home looks clean, you probably think it is clean. Unfortunately, if you want to clean your home thoroughly, you’re also going to need to work on the things you can’t see – such as indoor air pollutants.
For a healthy home environment, the air quality inside your home needs to be as good as possible. It’s important to bear in mind that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that, in some cases, the quality of the air inside your home could be worse – and more polluted – than outside.
Luckily there are some ways that you can improve the air quality of your home and combat the indoor air pollutants that would otherwise have the potential to make you sick. Read on to find out more about what you can do to improve your home’s air quality.
What Indoor Air Pollutants Can You Find?
Before we can look at how to combat the indoor air pollutants in your home, we need to know more about what they are and why they are there. Germs that include bacteria and viruses can live on almost any surface. And, the less clean your home is, the more chance there is of finding them. However, they can also live in pipes and other areas that are challenging to access and clean.
Airborne chemicals are another problem that needs to be considered. When you are using items that you might not even think could be dangerous, such as paint, varnish, cleaning products, and even some textiles, you might actually be releasing volatile organic compounds (VOC), also known as airborne chemicals, into your home. When they are breathed in, they can cause problems with the eyes, nose, throat, and even the digestive system. They can also cause headaches.
Do you have allergens in your home? If you have pets or indoor plants, then it is possible, although allergens can also be produced by various other household items, including dust and mold. Opening a window for ventilation isn’t usually enough to clear the air of these allergens. And, since they can travel through your home very quickly, they can be highly problematic.
And what about toxic odors? Some smells in a house are lovely: Freshly brewed coffee or baked goods aren’t something you’re going to be upset about. Other smells are less pleasant and, if you smell something strange, it could indicate that you have a serious underlying problem in your home.
Mold is actually one of the most dangerous and unpleasant substances that can be found in a home. It can develop when your home’s humidity is out of balance and there is too much humidity in the air. Of course, too little humidity means that you can develop a cough, and even your hair and skin can be affected, becoming dry and difficult to treat.
Now that you know what kind of air pollutants could be in your home, we’ve got some helpful tips on how to keep them at bay.
The cleaner your home, the less likely it is that you’ll have dangerous indoor air pollutants in there with you. Although thoroughly cleaning won’t prevent every kind of pollutant, it will certainly help with many. At the very least, you are reducing the risk of developing pollutant-related illnesses.
Vacuuming at least twice a week is a particularly useful thing to do. It will be especially effective if your vacuum cleaner has a specially designed HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and it traps pollutant particles so that you can dispose of them.
When vacuuming, don’t forget to vacuum your soft furnishings – including your mattress. The mattress is often overlooked, but it’s the ideal place for many different pollutants to grow and thrive.
When you’re vacuuming your mattress, it is also a great time to remove your bedding and launder it.
If your mattress is older than seven years, it may be time to buy a new one. Some mattresses are made using environmentally friendly practices and are free of pollutants. A detailed description of one such mattress can be found in this review of Puffy Lux mattress. Once you have your new mattress, cover it with an allergen-resistant cover to protect it.
Buy A Whole-House Air Purification System
Installing a whole-house air purification system is an ideal way to reduce the number of air pollutants in your home without you having to do much work at all. Once the unit is installed, as long as you change the filters regularly, it will capture the pollutants and stop them from recirculating in your home.
Of course, it will depend on what kind of filter you use as to how effective the purification system is, so it’s wise to use the best filters you can. Ideally, you should install a MERV 16-rated carbon filter. These are medical-grade filters, and they eliminate 99 percent of most pollutant particles, 90 percent of germs and bacteria, and 50 percent of chemical vapors and even household odors.
Use A Dehumidifier
If the humidity in your home is the problem and the reason that you’re finding mold growing on your ceilings, walls, and even soft furnishings and clothes, using a dehumidifier should help. This piece of equipment will effectively pull the moisture out of the air, meaning that it can’t go on to create any mold. The best humidity level in the home to prevent either too much or too little moisture in the air is between 40 and 50 percent.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
As we mentioned earlier, there can be all kinds of chemical pollutants floating around in the air within your home, and you and your family could easily be breathing them all in, leading to lung problems and allergies.
Ironically, cleaning products can be the source of some chemical pollutants. So, by switching to natural cleaning products, you’re helping to reduce the use of those chemicals in your home.
Improving the quality of the air in your home does take a little thought and some work, but it’s a good feeling when you and your family can breathe easier.
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