In 2018, the EPA told us that Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, whether in an office, school, or home. And according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is quite of bit of scientific evidence that says the air in our homes and other buildings may be more polluted than the outdoor air in even the most industrialized cities. We’d say it stands to reason that we should know what’s going on in the air we’re almost always breathing.
Moisture, air fresheners, unclean carpeting, humidifiers, and poor-performing HVAC systems are all possibly messing with the clean air utopia your lungs deserve. Check on these culprits to know if your air quality is teetering on unhealthy.
While a regularly maintained HVAC system is not likely to negatively impact air quality, these systems often get neglected and become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria . These dirty systems can spread allergens and harmful bacteria throughout the home, potentially causing various illnesses.
Keeping up on your heating and cooling system is an essential part of caring for your home’s air quality.
Many household cleaners, disinfectants, aerosol sprays, paints, fuels, air fresheners, cosmetics, and other products can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs can cause several health effects, including respiratory irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, or fatigue.
It’s essential to always follow the instructions carefully, store chemicals properly, and increase ventilation when using any products that can release VOCs.
Does anyone smoke indoors? Do you regularly open the windows in your home? Do you use a humidifier?
All of those seemingly innocuous behaviors can affect your air quality. Smoking indoors is harmful to our health and can cause premature death and disease. Opening your windows or keeping them closed can have varying effects depending on your outdoor environment but can let outside pollutants in. Humidifiers can get dirty and allow mold and bacteria to grow and spread. A humidity level over 50% may encourage the growth of mold or dust mites.
How to Improve the Air Quality
The best ways to improve indoor air quality are eliminating the source of pollution, improving your ventilation, and investing in a high-quality air cleaner.
- Have your HVAC systems serviced regularly
- Don’t smoke indoors
- Store and use your household products according to the directions
- Throw out old household products and cleaners to keep them from releasing VOCs
- Be sure to clean rugs and carpets
If you stick to regular upkeep and combine it with a quality air purifier, you and your family will be able to breathe deeply and fearlessly.