It’s All About Air
You may not think much about the air you breathe at home, but it may be causing more problems than you realize. The key to a comfortable home environment is not just air temperature but also air quality. We’re breaking down how you can achieve better air quality in your house.
Why Air Quality Matters
Air is just air, right? Well, yes and no. Some pollutants are invisible to the human eye, while some are easily detected. Whether visible or not, pollutants can have an adverse effect on you and your family’s health.
According to Harvard Medical School, indoor air pollutants are most known to cause respiratory problems, digestive issues, and fatigue. These issues are amplified in the winter when there is less airflow moving between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Good Cleaning Habits
Good indoor air quality starts with good cleaning habits. A clean home is usually devoid of harmful particles, at least to a greater degree than a dirty house. Using all-purpose cleaners and disinfectants on common surfaces will help reduce particle buildup, which prevents pollutants from entering the air.
Dusting is also essential. At least once a week, make a trip around your home with a duster and pick up the tiny gray particles that have gathered. Also, make sure to clean standing and ceiling fans, which will just blow dust directly into the air. Houseplants are also a frequent home for dust.
Getting your ductwork cleaned can also have a positive effect on air quality. As air is frequently moving through the ducts to different parts of your home, it is a prime opportunity to move pollutants around.
Ventilation is one of the most effective techniques for improving air quality. Think about it - when you burn something on the stove, and it starts to smoke, you throw on the vent and open a window. Outdoor air helps to dilute pollutants that may be in your home.
In fact, older steam heating systems were designed with ventilation in mind. During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, public health experts recommended opening windows for air ventilation in an effort to fight the airborne virus. So heating engineers were looking to make a product that could heat a home while windows were open.
Ventilation is especially important when knowingly bringing in common pollutants into your home. This includes paints, stains, and highly concentrated chemicals.
Opening windows is just a temporary solution; however, if an odor or pollutant persists even after frequent ventilation, you should look for an alternate solution.
Invest in Air Purification
There are many standalone and whole-home air purifying solutions on the market today. These are great options if you’re looking to add additional filters to the air in your home.
These are an excellent option for pet owners. Pet dander is less controllable than other pollutants, so a purifier can help alleviate allergic reactions. However, air cleaners are not designed to remove gaseous pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Another form of air-purifying can be done through the various filters in your home. Most important are your HVAC filters. They can be located as part of your furnace or air conditioner. Filters help remove pollutants from the air before moving through your ducts and into your breathing air. Clean or replace these filters often, as it will improve air quality and help your system run more efficiently.
Also, check the filters in your vacuum cleaner, above the oven, in the dryer, and any other spots you may have, as these all contribute to whether or not harmful particles are recirculated into the air.