Nine ways to improve indoor air quality this winter
Did you know that the air inside your home could be four to five times more polluted than air outside your home?
The problem is that we live in increasingly airtight homes (great for energy efficiency, not-so-great for air quality) and are surrounded by more airborne contaminants than ever – from dust, mold, dead skin, pet dander to indoor and outdoor pollutants from cleaners, construction materials and more. Winter, with its overly-dry air and window-closing temperatures, makes most indoor air quality problems worse.
While indoor pollution may be especially harmful for children, elderly people, and asthma sufferers, regular exposure to it can be harmful to anyone over time – a big reason why indoor air quality should be front and center of any personal health regimen!
So how do you improve indoor air quality? Here are nine ways.
- Mind your floors – Vacuum carpets with a HEPA filter once a week, and mop hard floors frequently with white vinegar and water. Consider adopting a no-shoes policy in your home to keep contaminants under control.
- Get greener – Most stores carry at least a few “green” cleaning products – choose wisely. Or make your own – vinegar and baking soda are great natural cleaning agents that cut grease, clean drains, kill germs, and more.
- Go for the essentials – Avoid fragrant aerosol spray cans and chemical air fresheners – Instead, use essential oils with a diffuser. Lavender, lemon grass, and other oils work great and don’t contain any air-polluting chemicals. If you use candles, choose soy or beeswax-based varieties scented only with pure essential oils; most of the chemicals used in scented candles are toxic.
- Control humidity – Overly-dry winter air can cause problems ranging from dry, irritated skin and increased allergic responses to greater incidence of asthma and even furniture damage. To avoid these problems, keep indoor humidity in the 30 to 60 percent range. A great way to do that? Install a whole house humidifier.
- Keep air moving – Ventilation is an often-overlooked key to air quality. Once a week, open windows and turn on fans to freshen the air in your home and let out some pollutants that may have accumulated.
- Get greener (Part 2!) – Plants are natural air purifiers that suck toxic chemicals through their leaves. Plant roots and soil bacteria also remove trace levels of toxic vapors. They look great, too!
- Go low–VOC – If you’re planning home renovations, choose low-VOC paints. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from paint can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment. Most quality paint manufactures make a low-VOC version – ask for it!
- Maintain your HVAC equipment. Ongoing maintenance of your HVAC equipment will help keep air contaminants from building and circulating in your New Jersey home. Check your HVAC air filters once per month, cleaning or changing them when necessary. Consider having your ducts cleaned, too.
- Invest in Inside Air Quality (IAQ) solutions – A whole house humidifier or dehumidifier will keep air at healthy moisture levels to discourage mold and mildew growth. Germicidal UV lights will kill most airborne bacteria and virtually all airborne mold spores. A whole house air cleaner is also a great way to improve air quality in your home.
Breathe easier this winter with indoor air quality solutions and expert HVAC maintenance from Dowling. Contact us today to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on indoor air quality equipment installations in your New Jersey home!