Your home’s indoor air quality is probably not something that’s weighing heavy on your mind, but it’s impacting your health and the health of everyone under your roof. Triggering asthma, allergies, and other symptoms can all result from allergens and viruses lingering in the air in your home. Here are a handful of things that could be contributing to your poor indoor air quality and a few solutions to those issues.
1. Dirty Air Filters
Changing your air conditioner and HVAC filters is an important part of routine maintenance because dirty air filters can make you sick. Dust and other allergens building up over time can trigger respiratory issues. Dirty air vents and ducts send irritants back into the air and also interrupt proper airflow. Cleaning filters or replacing an old air filter will benefit your health in the long run and help your air conditioner or furnace expend less energy. Homeowners should consider bringing in a technician for annual maintenance to clean out dirty air ducts.
2. Mold and Mildew
Moisture accruing in your household can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria growth. This is extremely detrimental to the health of your family. Higher humidity only further aids the growth of spores. An average household should have a humidity rate of 40 to 50 percent. If you’re having difficulty maintaining those levels, consider investing in a dehumidifier for your household and regularly cleaning its filter to ensure better indoor air. You can eliminate these toxins and mold spores through inspection of any household leaks and seepage, as well as regular cleaning of fixtures.
3. Lack of Ventilation
One of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality is to add a little outdoor air. Natural ventilation can help to introduce clean air to your indoor environment just by opening windows and doors. A lack of cross-breeze can allow air contaminants to linger. By introducing some fresh air, you can moderate your indoor temperature and limit air conditioning or heating. This can actually be beneficial to your energy costs in the long run. Proper shading can also help to remove or dilute airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources. While proper ventilation helps, proper insulation can also come in handy. This will also block any leaks or cracks that allow unwelcome rodents to sneak into a household.
4. Lingering Odors
Poor air quality can result from something as simple as letting smoke linger in a household. It’s in the best interest to open a few windows after cooking to get some fresh air or to invest in an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove any irritants and contaminants from your household. While you may think aerosol sprays can combat air pollution, it’s important to look into what goes into the product. Some household chemicals contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that can trigger discomfort and even respiratory issues if overused. If you notice those symptoms, be sure to opt for other cleaners.
5. Pet Dander
There are plenty of things that can trigger allergies, from pollen and dust to even your furry friend. Pet dander can linger not only in your air filters but can also make itself at home in your ducts, carpet, and furniture. If your dog or cat sheds, be sure to vacuum your household to remove any lingering dander. If you notice any allergy symptoms flaring up, be sure to get a clean air filter for any air conditioning units, dehumidifiers, or other appliances. You may also want to consider having a medical professional looking into what is triggering those allergic reactions.