You Are What You Breathe: Improving Your Home’s Air Quality
A happy home is a clean home, and a clean home has healthy indoor air quality. Indoor air pollutants include biological sources such as pollen, pet dander and mold. Asbestos, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide make up environmental and chemical sources. Ensure your family lives in the healthiest and cleanest environment by keeping the following in mind.
Filtering, Venting & Humidifying
As you improve the quality of your air at home, see what air treatment options fit your household needs.
- Filtering passes air through a screen designed to remove particles, substances and VOCs. Filters can be found in most home improvement centers, and don’t forget one for your furnace and air conditioning system.
- Ventilation can be passive, like ridge vents in your room, or active, like stove or bathroom vents. Vents help to remove air from your home that can cause problems, such as smoke and steam from cooking or water vapor from a bathroom. If these vapors remain in the house, they can increase carbon monoxide concentrations or mold growth.
- Humidifiers increase humidity, which helps prevent or treat skin and respiratory issues. If not properly maintained, humidifiers can harbor mold, mildew and bacteria. Make sure to clean and rinse the humidifier every three days, use deionized water to prevent buildup and change any filters as needed to promote optimal performance.
Safety in Home Renovation
If you’re undergoing home renovations, control the air quality by releasing and containing dusts and contaminants through “heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems,” according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Be smart about your renovation with the following steps:
- Put up plastic to maintain the construction dust in the area you’re working in
- Wear an N-95 mask to keep particles out of your lungs
- Use low-VOC building materials, sealants and paints during renovation
You’ll not only enjoy the new look, but also the new smell (or lack thereof). Also, install insulation that has been treated to fight mold and contain low VOCs.
Monitoring Indoor Air Quality
Long-term, low-level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause nausea, headaches, depression, neurological conditions, and heart problems — and don’t expect cheap detectors to always pick up on it. Pregnant women and small children are especially at risk for these side effects, according to the EPA. Higher-quality monitoring equipment can pick up levels of carbon monoxide, radon or other harmful fumes. Top security companies for families monitor lethal fumes like carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide monitors are available at most home improvement stores, and be aware of their limitations. Call your security company to see if they offer indoor air quality monitoring, and set up an appointment to have professionals install the equipment properly.
Thanks to Keith Hamilton for this post. Keith is a blogger who enjoys writing about home improvement and DIY projects.
What are you doing to ensure healthy air quality in your home?