Simple Ways To Improve Home Air Quality
With the recent Houston Deer Park tank fire air quality is probably on your mind, especially if you have a family member that is elderly, young, or has lung or heart disease. Luckily there are simple ways to improve the air quality in your home and keep your loved ones safe.
We usually think of air pollutants as something that occurs outside the home, especially with the recent oil fire. However, often the air inside our home is more polluted than the air outside. The air outside my have ozone, smog, or haze, but the air inside your home is polluted with formaldehyde, fire-retardants, volatile chemicals from cleaners, lead from house dust, mold, pet dander, radon, and dust mites. Even if you do not own a pet there is pet dander in your home from contact with pet owners. Some of these pollutants are tracked into the home, while some come from the products we use or are brought in with new furniture or mattresses. Although you may be concerned with the pollutants and allergens outside the home, you spend far more time being exposed to the pollutants, irritants, and allergens inside your home. Children, the elderly, and people with asthma or other respiratory problems will be visibly affected the most. However, prolonged exposure can lead to health problems years later, even to the healthiest person.
You can improve your indoor air quality and breathe easier with a few simple steps. While it’s not possible to eliminate all the pollutants and allergens in your home, a few changes can improve air quality and lessen allergy symptoms.
Keep The Outside Out
Although house plants are beautiful, they also collect and foster the growth of mold and can collect dust. You may believe that house plants improve air quality because they release oxygen, but they create too much allergens to warrant the exchange balance.
Put an oversized floor mat at every door to help collect the dirt, pesticides, allergens, and other pollutants that would normally be tracked into your home. Peoples shoes have countless chemicals, allergens, lead containing dust, and other disgusting elements on them. For the maximum amount of protection to keep your family healthy, remove shoes before entering the home. Indoor slippers, shoes, and socks can be used inside instead.
Clean The Air
Chances are you aren’t changing the air filters on your AC system as regularly as you should. Most homes, without pets, should change their air filter every 3 months. If you own a pet; every 2 months. If you have a pet and someone in your family has allergies, change your filter every month.
If no one in your family has allergies, open the windows to let in fresh air once in a while. This is help ventilate the pollutants, chemicals, and cleaning & cooking fumes that we create with day-to-day living.
However, if someone in your family has allergies or asthma, especially a child, keep your home as air-tight as possible and use and air purifier. Place your air purifiers in areas of them home that are most commonly used to lessen the possibility of triggering asthma/allergy symptoms. An air purifier in your bedroom can also lessen your likelihood of snoring and thus improve sleep.
You’ll also want to keep your home as dehumidified as possible to prevent the growth of mold. A healthy level of humidity is between 30%-50%. A dehumidifier or air conditioner will help to remove moisture in the air and control allergens. In addition, use an exhaust fan and open a window when showering, running the dishwasher, and cooking. Keep an eye out for leaky faucets and fix them immediately when found. Remember to regularly empty drip pans from any window air conditioner or dehumidifiers.
A clean home is a healthy home. Indoor hygiene can greatly cut down on dust and allergens. Vacuuming at least twice a week with a vacuum with a HEPA filter, followed by mopping with microfiber, and regularly cleaning drapes and bedding in hot water, will help to protect your family’s air quality.
Use Natural Scents
The smell of lemony pine and air fresheners make you think a home is clean, but synthetic fragrances and air fresheners emit dozens of chemicals into the air. Even dryer sheets release chemical gasses into the air. Even though a plug-in air freshener release 20 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 7 deemed toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, you won’t find these chemicals listed on their label. Law only requires “fragrance” be listed. Instead of chemical laced products, try to use fragrance-free and naturally scented laundry and cleaning products, avoid aerosol sprays, and use natural products like baking soda and lemons or essential oil air diffusers to scent kitchens and bathrooms.
Putnam Builders has been building custom homes on the Gulf Coast of Texas and surrounding areas since 1963. We would love the opportunity to discuss your custom home ideas in our design studio in Bacliff, TX or in the comfort of your own home. Please contact us at 281-339-0838 or request a free consultation.