Have you ever wondered what the air quality is like in your home? If you have not before, you may find this article to be very alarming. We tend to think of air pollution as exterior occurrences only … like from smog, the ozone, or fumes from vehicles driving around. The ugly truth is that the air we breathe inside our homes, offices and other building, can be even more polluted than the air outside.
The air indoors may be polluted by dust mites, mold, pet dander (even if you do not have pets you may be exposed to pet danders in your home), volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaning supplies, and more.
Quality of air is quality of life so investing in your air quality as much as you invest in and acknowledge the cleaning of other areas and surfaces in our homes.
Seeing that the air we breathe indoors can be 2 to 5 times worse than the air outside we cannot sit idly by allowing our children to breathe in such toxic air.
The same goes for the work at home parents (me included), who stay cooped up in the “safety” of our homes working tirelessly day after day. In this article, I will point out 5 ways you can make the air in your home healthier for you and your family. We will start adding the air to our cleaning list!
1. Maintain A Healthy Level of Humidity
Now we all know that mold and dust mites go crazy for moisture. Keeping the humidity levels in our homes around 30% to 50% will help to keep them and other allergens under your control.
A dehumidifier should be used and an air conditioner during the summer months to help with reducing the moisture effectively. If you suffer from allergies then the air conditioner during summer time is a plus as it reduces the pollen count indoors.
Here are a few more things you can do to dehumidify your home:
- Always open the window when you are doing the following activities in your home, bathing, running the dishwasher or cooking. With cooking if you have an exhaust fan make use of it alternatively.
- If you are a plant lover and have indoor plants, do not over water them.
- Ensure that your dryer is vented outside.
- Check the drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier and empty them regularly.
- Never hesitate to fix any leaky plumbing issues you may have ASAP.
2. Do A Test For Radon
Whether you have a new or old home, there is a possibility you have a radon problem. This is a gas that is odorless and colorless so it is hard to detect. However, breathing this gas greatly increases the risk of lung cancer. In the US, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. If smoking is a habit of yours then your risk of lung cancer is even higher.
But where does radon come from? Uranium which is found in nearly all soils, becomes radon as it decays. It typically moves up through the ground and into your home through the cracks and holes in your foundation.
Now any home can potentially have a radon problem even if they are homes without a basement, airtight or drafty. Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive to do and takes only a few minutes.
3. Make Your Home A No-Smoking Zone
We all have habits but this is one bad habit that not only affects the person doing it. As a non-smoker I will encourage anyone who smokes to do what they can to kick the habit. But if you can not at the very least make your home a safe zone from all the chemicals smoking release into the air.
Did you know that the smoke of a cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals? Those are over 4,000 reasons you why you don’t want the place you call home and shelter for your family, to be exposed to all that harm. For those with children, secondhand smoking increases a child’s risk of developing respiratory and ear infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, and cancer.
There are over 4000 reasons for you to make your home a non smoking zone.
4. Maintain Fresh Floors
This is one chore we will have to do day after day but here I will give you tips on doing this chore as effectively as possible.
- Vacuum regularly. Chemicals and allergens easily accumulate in the dust found in homes, and will stay there for decades. To get around this you should use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. This can greatly reduce the lead in your house. A HEPA filter is versatile enough to include other toxins such as brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, dust mites and pet dander.
Also ensure that the vacuum used does not blow the dirt back out from the exhaust. To limit this, a vacuum that has strong suction, HEPA filter as mentioned before to trap small particles and rotating brushes.
- Mop after vacuuming. Mopping picks up the dust left behind after a vacuum job is done. We have to acknowledge the stubborn dust and grimes. But no need for the heavy chemicals. Just use plain water to capture the lingering dust and allergens. Try using cloths or mops made with microfiber materials as they capture more dust and dirt than the traditional fibers without the need for any cleaning solutions.
- Keep the excess dust and dirt at the door. Having some good house rules are not so bad. For example leaving the shoes at the door. Outside your doors you can place down a huge floor mat. The mat will reduce the amount of dust and dirt you allow to track right unto your floors. Another good thing is to insist on leaving all outdoor shoes in a specific corner. Shoes not only track in dust and dirt but also other pollutants such as pesticides, etc from getting into your safe place.
5. Add Your Indoor Air Quality To Your Cleaning List
Last but not least lets add the air you breathe to your cleaning list. To do this all you need is an air treatment system. This will be a unit that takes the air in your home and filters it getting rid off all the contaminants found in your indoor air.
As the air passes through the system you get filtered, healthy air to breathe.
There are quite a few options out there for air treatment systems but they all are not made equally.
If you have never thought about the possibility that your indoor air could be harmful to you and your children, do not worry, I will tell you what to look for when looking for nothing but the best for your family.
The preferred air treatment system must have.
- A washable pre-filter.
- HEPA filter
- Carbon filter
In other words, a three-stage filtration system to get rid of 99.99% of all contaminants found in the air, even odor. Having those three filter types are capable of such a feat.
Another feature you want to look out for is it having a particle sensor to continuously monitor the air quality of your home. You will also want to look for features which increase the efficiency of the system, such as increased air flow. This is ideal because the faster it can get air in and out of the system the faster you will have quality air in your home.
Yes, it is a fact that our indoor air is more contaminated that we think or would like. The only thing left to do is take the steps necessary to make our home sweet home, safe for ourselves and our children.
We also cannot deny that this is now an issue because more and more people are starting to spend even more hours indoors more than ever due to how we as a generation have changed over the years. From long hours in the office, a long commute in our cars to home, or for people who work at home who only ever leave the house to go to another indoor location like the grocery store.
Rarely do we go out to the park for hours or go on a weekend hike. Since we spend over 90% of our time indoors why not make our indoors as safe as we can.