In the winter months, it can be hard to tell the difference between flu-like symptoms and the side effects of indoor air pollution. If the air in your home is contaminated, you will experience itchy, watery eyes and respiratory irritation including coughing, sneezing, and sore throat.
If you already have asthma or a chronic respiratory condition, poor indoor air quality only exacerbates the condition. If you’re feeling sick or experiencing headaches when inside your home, the air (filled with airborne contaminants) could be the culprit.
Indoor air is often more contaminated than outdoor air due to proper insulation but poor ventilation in your home. Modern homes are built to be super energy-efficient and well-sealed, or “tight.” Homes that are well-insulated are good for your energy bill — keeping the cold air out and the warm air from your heater or furnace in. However, without a clean, well-maintained heating and cooling system and enough ventilation and circulation for your home to breathe, air pollutants just recycle through your home’s air ducts and into your lungs.
Trapped air contaminants, including dust mites, tobacco smoke, chemical cleaning products and mold or mildew all lead to unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution.
Air pollution can be caused by many factors, including:
- Poor ventilation, a “tight” home
- Insufficient circulation of fresh air
- Tobacco products and tobacco smoke
- Wood-burning fireplace or gas stove
- A dirty heating and cooling system
- Household chemical products, including cleaning supplies, artificial fragrances, etc
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- High levels of humidity
- Mold and mildew
- Dust mites
- And more…
Now that you’re aware of how many things can cause unhealthy breathing conditions in your home, you’ll want to invest in some simple ways to improve your indoor air quality and your health in the process.
1. Improve ventilation and air circulation
It’s easy to open the windows every so often to let in some fresh air, but that’s not always a possibility — especially during the winter! There are several solutions to consider, including certain window screens that filter air pollutants.
Running your ceiling fans is a way to improve air circulation. Remember to flip your ceiling fan to winter mode. By reversing the movements of the blades, warm air that is chilling out near the ceiling will be pushed down and throughout the living space, keeping things warmer and better circulated.
Ensure that if you are using a fireplace or fuel-burning furnace this winter that they are properly vented to the outside and are away from your heating system’s intake section. If it does get into your HVAC system, the smoke and such will be recirculated through your home and cause lung and throat irritation in the long term.
2. Replace the air filter and clean the air ducts
If your HVAC system isn’t clean and healthy, your home’s indoor air won’t be either. It’s crucial, especially during high-use seasons such as the winter and the summer to change your system’s air filter regularly, even monthly. Consider signing up for bi-annual maintenance, and ensure that your system’s air ducts are clean. When your heating and cooling system is running smoothly, with a high-quality air filter and clean air ducts, contaminants won’t be able to recirculate and dwell in the air and your body.
3. Invest in air purification
A good air purifier will work wonders to combat contaminates in your home’s air. An air purifier removes allergens from the air, including dust, dust mites, smoke, pet dander and even pollen and other odors. Your local home service company can direct you to a top-notch air purifier that will support you in your efforts to improve the overall health of your home.
Some air purification options include:
- UV Germicidal Lights
- Air Scrubbers
- Special Air Filters
Air purification solutions from OnTime Service is the smart choice for those wanting the best home air quality.
4. Monitor humidity to avoid mold and mildew
Mold and mildew are extremely unhealthy and dangerous to find in your home. Combating mold and mildew begins in high-moisture areas of the home, most notably the bathrooms and the kitchen. It’s important to have properly functioning exhaust fans in these places to keep air moving and avoid high humidity levels.
Your home can operate with a healthy level of humidity, around 30 to 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier to control and monitor humidity levels in your home, and keep your home’s indoor air healthy by deterring the growth of any mold or mildew.
5. Keep chemicals and VOCs out of the house
Household chemicals, such as cleaning solutions, paints, and pesticides out of the home. Ever noticed that you may get a headache after an intensive day of cleaning? If the windows are closed, the chemical fumes are trapped in the air and get inhaled. It’s best to keep all chemicals and Volatile Organic Compounds away from the air that you breathe. And be sure to ventilate when you clean and use earth-friendly solutions for our household cleaning when applicable.
6. Purchase houseplants
Purchase air-filtering houseplants and improve air quality in your home. Not only do house plants act as a natural purifier, they improve the overall look and feel of any space. Some of the best types of plants to consider are:
- English Ivy
- Spider Plant
- Peace Lilies
- Snake Plant
In fact, it was NASA who first compiled a list of air-filtering plants for your home.
In 1989, NASA and the ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America) published the NASA Clean Air Study. This study found that indoor plants provide a natural way to remove “toxic agents” and “neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome”. Sick building syndrome is an actual medical condition used to describe people who become ill within a particular building due to the quality and contents of the air. Houseplants are an effective and fashionable addition for a clean-air home.
People make a lot of resolutions for the new year that are hard to keep. Vowing to improve the quality of your home’s indoor air is an impactful resolution to make and an easy one to keep.
We wish you a happy and healthy 2018!
SERVICE ON TIME OR WE PAY YOU $59!
OnTime Service is here to help. Our team of indoor air quality specialists provide home evaluations and professional IAQ solutions for your home.
Breathe easy this new year and improve your overall health and wellbeing with Indoor Air Quality services from OnTime Service.
Give us a call at 205-942-1405 or schedule service online.