polluted air

How can homeowners improve air quality in their homes?

You could have a chronic problem in your home and not even know about it. Poor indoor air quality. This pollution can cause significant health concerns for you and your family. The potential for air pollution lives in about every room of your home. Outdoor pollutants can enter your home and join forces with indoor irritants. These irritants can include mold, household dust, allergens from pet dander, and fumes from gas appliances. Water heaters, ovens, stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, ranges, and space heaters all release gas and particulates into the air.

Poor air quality can cause symptoms like coughing, tightening of the chest, sore throat, itchy eyes, short breath, frequent headaches, long lasting colds, and bronchitis. But the good news is there are steps we can take to clean up the air in our homes.

Good Home Product Swaps

Improving air quality in homes can occur through some easy purchases and swaps. Hardwood floor, tile and linoleum are better options than wall-to-wall carpet for trapping irritants. Instead of carpet, try area rugs which are much easier to clean than carpet. When cleaning, use green products. Toxins from standard products can pollute the air with VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Products containing chlorine or ammonium have VOCs which go into the air as gases WebMD. Additionally, purchasing bedding with hypo-allergenic products can reduce allergens.

“Buy bedding that contains hypo allergenic fill. Reduce the amount of dust on shelves and on tops of cabinets and clean light fixtures regularly. Indoor plants can also help with producing oxygen.”

says Kraig Kalashian of Kraig Kalashian Architecture.

Maintaining Your Home

Cleaning your home regularly can have a profound impact on the air quality of your home. This amazingly simple habit can keep your home a much healthier place to dwell. Sam Lazarus of Service Master Clean says:

“Regular cleaning of bath rooms, sinks, showers etc., prevent mold and mildew from taking hold.”

Preventing Mold

While we aren’t even sure why mold has such a poor effect on us, we do know it causes detrimental symptoms much like other allergens. Once mold is detected, it must be addressed or you could have a harmful and expensive problem on your hands.

“As a simple rule, if you see it or smell it, you have it. If we ran a mold test on our toothbrushes or towels, the results would be frightening. There are too many strains of mold to even keep count and mildew is one of them. Since mold needs organic material to live the control of mold can be easily dealt with, in most situations, without calling out the HazMat team. If you can remove moisture, you can control mold, mildew and rot.”

Says Richard Koller of Criterium-Tauscher Cronacher Professional Engineers. Mold can be prevented by keeping the humidity levels low in your home. Regularly using your bathroom and kitchen fans is important to dry out moisture from cooking or bathing. If mold is detected, you can clean the mold, dry out the moisture source, and remove any damaged material. But if this is a humid part of your home, mold may come back. In this case, you need to look into products to control this moisture. There are many dehumidification products available.

Altogether, clean indoor air should be something we all strive for. Our homes should not be places that contribute to developing bronchitis, lung infections, and other health woes. However, the good news is that mold and clean air can be controlled through maintaining a clean home (using green products), and using materials in your home that will not contribute to allergens and mold in the home.