Unhealthy air is more than just an allergic nuisance. If the air we’re breathing inside our homes is rife with pollutants, chemicals and allergens, the American Lung Association warns us that it could increase our risk of infections, lung cancer, and asthma. Improving air quality, therefore, should be a top priority.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “the likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors including age and preexisting medical conditions. In some cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological or chemical pollutants after repeated or high level exposures.” Additional long-term health effects, the EPA continues, such as some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, may even show up years after exposure.
Below are some pollutant sources to be aware of and the Do’s and Don’ts of improving air quality in your home and workspace.
When it comes to improving air quality, the EPA identifies several pollution sources to be aware of, including:
- Residential wood burning stoves and appliances
- Tobacco products
- Building materials and furnishings, including
- Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation
- Newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet
- Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
- Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies
- Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
- Excess moisture
- Outdoor sources such as
- Outdoor air pollution
As you can see, there’s a lot of scary stuff in the air that you may not even realize you’re breathing in all day.
Improving Air Quality In Your Home Or Office
One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality is to open your windows and let in some fresh air. But when the pollen counts are high, allergies can flair up. To freshen things up with ease, a few top organizations, such as the American Lung Association, recommend other healthy remedies to give a try.
7 DO’s For Improving Air Quality
- Get a Plant– Research (from NASA) shows that common houseplants, such as the spider plant, Chinese evergreen and the bamboo palm, help fight indoor pollution.
- Clean– Dust regularly, vacuum often and change your bedding more often.
- Circulate– Open the windows (if during non-peak pollen times) and let in fresh air and switch on the ceiling fans to give the circulation process a speed boost.
- Remove Your Shoes– Take off your shoes and remove clothes to avoid tracking pollen and pesticides throughout your house.
- Control Humidity– Keep humidity levels under 50 percent by using the bathroom exhaust fan, a dehumidifier or your air conditioner as necessary.
- Change Air Filters– Regularly maintain equipment to prevent particulates from circulating around your home due to dirty filters and schedule annual tune-ups to remove buildup.
- Fix Leaks– Leaks and standing water lead to high humidity which leads to mold and other pollutants. Take care of leaks before they become a bigger problem.
5 DON’TS For Improving Air Quality
- Don’t Use Scented Candles- If you use unnatural fragrances to cover odors, you’re just adding more pollution inside. Some may even be emitting phthalates (which is extremely harmful) to make the fragrance last longer. Turn to essential oils for a natural scent boost instead.
- Don’t Use Hazardous Cleaners– Many store-bought cleaners are full of harmful chemicals with a strong fragrance that can spread harmful pollutants in the air. As a rule of thumb, cleaners with plant-based ingredients are your best non-toxic choice.
- Don’t Open Windows During Peak Pollen Times- Avoid opening your windows when the “Pollencast” is high.
- Don’t Let Fido in Bed– Pets, especially long-haired ones, can carry pollen in their fur and track it into your bedroom. Wash him up or better yet, keep him off the covers.
- Don’t Stress– Stress causes cytokine (our bodies protein that is produced as a part of the allergic response) levels to increase, thus making allergy symptoms worse.
How Safe Is Your Indoor Air?
Remember, since your HVAC system circulates air, any pollutants in the home can be moved around with it. That is precisely why it’s important to ensure you’re improving air quality at home with these tips.
Call the experts at Point Bay Fuel at (732) 349-5059 to schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment today.