Stories about the impact of air pollution on public health are all over the news, but how often do you think about your home’s air quality? Outdoor pollution is a concern, but it’s easy to forget that you can be exposed to pollutants inside of your home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels of air pollutants indoors can be up to100 times higher than outdoor air pollutants. Worse yet, they also have a greater effect on your health.
Want to improve your indoor air quality? Here are the top 5 natural ways to enhance indoor air quality at home from the experts at Scottsdale Air.
Health Impact of Indoor Air Pollution
There are plenty of pollutants found in indoor air, many of which can lead to significant health effects. Here are some potential risks:
- Allergic reactions
- Heart disease
- Low birth weight
For people with respiratory or heart conditions, the elderly, and young children, these pollutants pose an even greater risk. If you or your family members are experiencing unexplained respiratory symptoms, it may be time to reevaluate your indoor air quality.
Sometimes, pollutants have the potential to cause harm, but they go undetected for years – all the while significantly impacting your health.
It’s important to take steps to improve your indoor air quality and reduce the risk of developing health conditions related to indoor air pollution. Here are some tips to get started.
1. Reduce Pollutants in Your Home
Learning the common sources of pollution and avoiding them is the first step in improving your indoor air quality. Some common household pollutants include:
Radon is a natural radioactive gas that can seep up through the cracks in the earth and build up in your home. Left unaddressed, radon can cause health problems like lung cancer.
You can get home test kits to check for unsafe levels of radon in your home. If you find that you have high levels of radon in the air, you can reduce it by sealing the foundation and preventing the gas from leaking into your living space.
Secondhand smoke is smoke that’s exhaled from cigarettes while someone else is smoking. Anyone exposed to secondhand smoke may have a higher risk of developing health problems, including a range of cancers. Thirdhand smoke, which comes from smoke that’s absorbed by clothes or furniture, also poses a health risk.
The best way to prevent second and thirdhand smoke from affecting your health is by eliminating smoking indoors. It’s also a good idea to encourage anyone in your home to quit smoking, as thirdhand smoke can affect your living space and air quality.
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that’s emitted by common household items. It’s usually found in glues used in furniture and composite wood, which can seep into your indoor air. Too much exposure can lead to respiratory issues like bronchitis.
You can reduce the formaldehyde in your home by choosing used furniture instead of new. Furniture tends to release lower amounts of formaldehyde over time, so used furniture will seep less formaldehyde into your home. You should also opt for solid wood furniture over composite wood whenever possible.
Some cleaning products have harmful chemicals that can linger in the air, such as air fresheners, glass cleaners, bleach, and cleaning sprays. Choosing safer, nontoxic cleaning products can help you keep your home clean without the pollutants that come in standard cleaning products.
2. Test Your Air Quality
If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home but don’t know what to change to improve it, getting an air quality test is a great starting point. You can use a professional to test your air quality or rely on DIY testing. Doing it yourself is less expensive, but you’ll get more extensive results and personalized recommendations from a professional.
DIY Air Quality Testing
You can find a variety of air quality test kits online. Some kits allow you to check for multiple pollutants while others look for specific ones, such as radon or formaldehyde.
Many at-home test kits are not comprehensive, so you may want to go with DIY air quality testing only if you’re concerned about a few particular pollutants. If you want a full panel of results to learn what’s affecting your indoor air, choosing a professional is the more efficient and cost-effective option.
Comprehensive at-home test kits can be expensive, but you can expect to spend more with comprehensive professional testing that checks for more specific pollutants. However, with that comes personalized recommendations and solutions to take control of your indoor air and health.
Professional Air Quality Testing
Hiring a professional to test your air quality is typically more expensive than a test kit, but many professionals offer services to help you address the pollution sources the test reveals. For example, if the test reveals mold, a professional can help you find mold prevention and removal.
3. Control Indoor Allergens
Most homes have a host of allergens and irritants, such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, and mold. Keeping these allergens at bay will typically improve overall air quality in your home, in addition to reducing your chances of experiencing respiratory symptoms like watery eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat, sneezing, skin rashes, and itching.
Managing allergens in your house requires both prevention and maintenance. You can control allergens by:
- Washing your bedding at least twice a month to eliminate dust mites
- Brushing and bathing your pet regularly
- Choosing hypoallergenic pillows and mattresses
- Vacuuming and dusting to keep pet dander, dust, and dust mites from accumulating
- Washing mold off nonpermeable surfaces like tile and metal
- Removing and replacing carpet, wood, or drywall if mold is growing
4. Use an Air Purifier
Bringing an air purifier into your home is a great way to get cleaner air. If your air quality is poor, it’s best to get an air purifier with high efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters, since those tend to remove harmful particles well. Some HEPA filters may remove more than 99% of harmful particles from your air.
Air purifiers can’t remove all types of pollution, however, so you may want to consider an air filter if you want to reduce smoke, VOCs, mold spores, carbon dioxide, and allergens like pet dander. Some HEPA filters can even remove flu virus particles from the air.
5. Improve Indoor Ventilation
Keeping the air flowing in your home is a simple way to improve your air quality. Just opening windows and doors to allow outside air to flow in can help your indoor air quality, as long as you won’t get outdoor pollutants like pollen.
Air also enters your home through vents and cracks like the spaces around doors and windows. You don’t have as many options for air that comes in through these openings except to seal them, but you can improve the air coming into your home through the vents.
Make sure to:
- Regularly change out any filters in your home heating and cooling systems
- Clean any air ducts in your home and make sure they’re unobstructed
- Check the filters in appliances that bring air in and change them according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Professional Indoor Air Quality Services
We offer a range of professional indoor air quality services, including:
- Air duct cleaning:The air ducts in your home can become clogged with dust, dirt, and contaminants, leading to poor indoor air quality and reduced HVAC efficiency. Our air duct cleaning service can remove these contaminants to reduce indoor pollution and improve the overall efficiency of your system.
- Air purification:Air purification systems can remove contaminants from the air in your home, which is helpful if you or a family member have allergies or respiratory issues. We can evaluate your indoor air quality and recommend and install an air purification system that’s ideal for your needs.
- Humidifiers and dehumidifiers:Humidity levels, whether low or high, can have an impact on the comfort and health of your indoor environment. We can recommend and install a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain optimal levels in your home and prevent health concerns like respiratory issues, mold growth, and dry skin.
No matter the solution, we’re committed to helping you reach and maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment according to your specific needs.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
When it comes to maintaining indoor air quality, Scottsdale Air has everything you need. From air duct cleaning to air purification, we can help you and your family breathe a little easier and enjoy a safer indoor environment.
Ready to improve your indoor air quality and your health?
Contact us today to schedule your consultation!