Bumper-to-bumper highway traffic. Billowing industrial smokestacks. These are just a few of the images that spring to mind when we think about air pollution. But what about indoor air pollution? Have you considered the quality of the air is inside your home?
The truth is, air pollution in your home can be just as bad – or even worse – than it is outdoors. And with the average American spending 87% of their life indoors, you’d think that indoor air quality would be something we’d hear about more often. But don’t panic! With a little preventative maintenance and some basic knowledge, you can take immediate steps to improve your indoor air quality today.
Common air pollutants
Air pollutants can range from contaminants brought in from the outdoors by your pets to dangerous gas leaks. Carbon monoxide is a common air pollutant resulting from natural gas that escapes into your home without being burned off. Older homes may contain asbestos and lead particles, which can be damaging to the lungs when released into the air. In bathrooms and kitchens, mold and mildew can become a nuisance where moisture levels are typically higher than in the rest of your house.
Here are 6 things you can do now to improve the air quality in your home:
Change your AC filter
In Arizona, we rely on air-conditioning systems to give homes that perfect temperature year round. But while they’re cycling through all that air, they’re filtering out some of those common air pollutants. Eventually, their air filters fill up and stop doing their job. Not only does that cause trouble for your indoor air quality, it also wears down your AC system, which can lead to costly repairs down the road. So, be sure to change your AC filters regularly – especially if you are allergy-prone or live in a metropolitan area with high levels of pollution.
Don’t forget about other air filters
Your AC filter isn’t the only thing working to keep the air clean in your home environment. If you really want to improve the air quality in your home, be sure to check the filters in your other household appliances. Your vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer and kitchen vents should all be inspected and maintained periodically. It’s wise to clean or replace these common household filters every few months.
Check your air ducts
Air ducts are responsible for distributing hot and cold air throughout your home, providing a comfortable climate in every room. But ducts that are not maintained or installed properly can distribute contaminants from one room to another. Over time, dust, dander and even mold can accumulate in your ducts, reducing the overall air quality. It’s usually best to hire a professional to make sure your ducts are circulating fresh, clean air.
Use cooking vents
Many indoor air pollutants come from the kitchen. Gas stoves release harmful contaminants, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Even electric burners produce those same pollutants in lower levels, as well as other particles that can be easily absorbed into your bloodstream. So, when you’re cooking, be sure to turn on your kitchen vents, or open a window to help filter out the air even more.
Control humidity in your home
Humid and moist conditions breed mold and mildew that can trigger respiratory issues like allergies and asthma. In the southwest, monsoon season can create unwelcome humidity or even lead to water damage in the home. Reduce the amount of moisture in the air and curb the growth of irritating molds with a few well-placed dehumidifiers. If you’ve had water damage from a storm, leak, or other disaster, it’s essential to consult a professional remediator to ensure all moisture has been fullys removed.
Buy indoor plants to freshen the air
Plants are nature’s natural air filters. Buying a few indoor plants can do wonders to improve the indoor air quality in your home, while enhancing your home décor. Small plants like ferns and lilies (which bloom indoors) and larger palm trees are the best options to pull contaminants out of the air.
Keeping the air in your home pure and breathable requires diligence and preventative maintenance. If you are concerned about your indoor air quality, consider setting up an appointment with a National First Response professional. In addition to emergency restoration, we offer a full range of services and are here to keep your home healthy. Get in touch today and breathe easy knowing the air in your home is clean and safe.