Creating an Indoor Air Quality Plan in 10 Easy Steps
Indoor air quality plays a major role in maintaining a healthy living environment, and it’s far too important to be left to chance. If you are considering your options for putting together the perfect air quality action plan, here are some of the most impactful tips to help you get started.
1. Begin by changing the air filters in your air conditioners and air purifiers on a regular basis. This will minimize the amount of harmful particles floating around inside your home. As an additional benefit, you will be safeguarding the life of those appliances at the same time.
2. Use a steam cleaner or other environmentally friendly cleaning solution to remove dust, dirt, debris, viruses, and bacteria. Always avoid using harsh chemicals whenever possible. Find some green recipes for homemade cleaning solutions, and also note that steam cleaners use plain tap water as the cleaning agent, so you can avoid noxious odors and harmful chemical residues.
3. If you ventilate your home properly, you can reduce your exposure to indoor air pollutants, including VOC’s, and improve the air quality as well. There are several ways to accomplish this; let in some fresh air by opening the windows occasionally, verify that your air conditioning and central heating systems are operating efficiently, and install ventilators in your kitchen and bathrooms.
4. Maintaining a smoke-free home should be an important goal, and when you have visitors, remember that no one should have to breathe secondhand smoke. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that when children are exposed to smoke at a young age, their risk of contracting ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases exponentially.
5. You can also improve your home’s indoor air quality by using house plants to get rid of contaminants such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Of course, having a few lush plants around the main living areas will also add to the décor.
6. Remember that radon (which is an odorless, colorless gas) is present in many homes, and high levels of exposure to it can cause a wide range of health problems. By installing a radon detector, you will be alerted immediately if radon gas levels reach a dangerous point, and this will allow you to contact a professional and have the indoor air quality in your home restored to a safe level.
7. To sleep more soundly and reduce any allergy symptoms you may have, try using hypoallergenic bedding that is dust-mite resistant. The source of many sleeping problems may be the allergens (including dust mites) inside mattresses and pillows which are known to cause sniffling, sneezing and coughing throughout the night.
8. Make sure that your pets stay off the furniture and reduce the amount of pet dander in your home by using a HEPA filter vacuum at least once per week in high traffic areas.
9. A smoke-free fireplace is an environmentally friendly, no-hassle alternative to a traditional one. While a wood- or gas-burning fireplace adds a certain charm to any setting, it is also the source of many toxic fumes. Since most electric models can be run without heat, you can also enjoy them throughout the year (yes, even during the summer… even in Texas!).
10. Stop mold growth before it starts. All types of mold release spores into the air in order to spread, and certain types of mold spores can be highly toxic. Since mold loves to grow in dark and damp areas, make sure to do regular inspections for water leaks. Some common areas to check for moisture include basements, crawl spaces, underneath kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and behind toilets. When you find a leak, get it fixed as soon as possible so mold won’t have time to grow.
This post was contributed by guest author Kaylee Osborne. Kaylee enjoys helping people improve their indoor air quality by providing useful information and solutions for common problems. She recommends using a medical grade HEPA air purifier for the best protection from indoor air pollutants.