Air quality inside our homes, offices, and other buildings can significantly impact our health and well-being. Poor indoor air quality can cause unpleasant and sometimes dangerous symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, sore throats, eye irritation, and asthma. Common pollutants include dust, biological life, chemicals from household products, building materials, and gases like radon and carbon monoxide.
Fortunately, you can take the following steps to keep your indoor air fresh and clean.
1. Ensure Proper Ventilation
Adequate ventilation allows for a constant exchange of indoor and outdoor air, diluting the concentration of pollutants inside. This can be achieved through natural methods such as opening windows or doors or mechanical ventilation systems such as fans and air conditioning units.
The best time to open windows or doors varies depending on the outdoor air quality and weather conditions. For instance, if the outdoor air quality is good, opening windows during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, is beneficial. These periods of lower traffic can reduce the amount of pollutants entering the indoor space.
It’s also advised to open windows after cleaning, cooking, or any indoor activities that might release pollutants. However, if the outdoor air quality is poor or there are high pollen counts, leaving windows closed is recommended to avoid exacerbating indoor air pollution.
2. Clean Regularly and Effectively
Carpets, curtains, furniture, and bedding can trap pollutants such as pet dander, dust, and mold spores. It’s important to keep these areas clean to limit the amount of pollutants in the air. Vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner is one of the best ways to do this, as these filters trap and remove particles more effectively than standard vacuum cleaners.
Dust can also accumulate in hard-to-reach places such as the interior of air conditioners and heating systems. When this happens, the dust can be circulated throughout the indoor space, so it may be worth having a professional take a look and see if it’s time to get your ductwork cleaned.
3. Limit Chemical-Based Products
Using chemical-based products like furniture polish, paint stripping agents, and air fresheners can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These irritants can cause various symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. You should consider switching to natural and low-VOC labeled products to reduce the presence of these pollutants.
4. Use Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are devices that use a combination of filters and other technologies to clean and purify the air in your home. They can help remove irritants like pollen, dust, mold spores, pet dander, and VOCs from the air. The type of filter and technology used will depend on the pollutants you are trying to remove from the air, but in general, HEPA filters will help remove the majority of particulates from your indoor air.
5. Avoid Indoor Smoking
Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals and is a major source of indoor air pollution. When someone smokes indoors, these harmful chemicals tend to stay in the home, get inhaled by others, and even settle on furniture and clothes, causing what’s known as thirdhand smoke.
Remove this risk entirely by enforcing a strict no-smoking policy within your indoor spaces. If smoking is unavoidable, ensure it takes place outdoors and away from your home’s doors and windows to prevent smoke from drifting indoors.
6. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas produced by combustion appliances such as stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces. These can present an invisible risk to those inside the building, as CO has no taste or smell and is invisible to the naked eye. To mitigate this risk, have a technician install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of high CO levels in your home. That way, you can take steps to reduce the exposure and prevent long-term health effects.
7. Introduce Indoor Plants
Incorporating indoor plants into your living or working space is aesthetically pleasing, and plants serve as natural air purifiers. Certain houseplants absorb harmful toxins and release fresh oxygen into the environment. Spider plants, snake plants, and Boston ferns are a few examples of plants that effectively improve indoor air quality. These greens can absorb pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. However, it’s important to remember that while plants can contribute to cleaner indoor air, they complement the other methods outlined, not substitute them. Additionally, make sure to take care of your plants, as improper care can result in issues as well.
8. Groom Your Pets
Regular grooming of your pets can significantly reduce the amount of dander and hair in the air, which are common allergens that can affect indoor air quality. This includes consistently brushing, bathing, and trimming your pet’s fur as needed. Doing this outdoors is advisable to prevent the spread of pet hair and dander inside your home.
Furthermore, remember to clean pet beds, toys, and feeding areas. Professional pet grooming services can be a good option for those who cannot groom their pets consistently or effectively. Train pets to pee and poop in designated areas away from your living space. This way, you can easily keep these areas clean and limit the spread of odors and bacteria.
9. Dispose of Waste
Improper waste disposal can attract pests, create unpleasant odors, and even lead to mold and bacterial growth, negatively impacting air quality. Ensure trash is regularly removed from indoor spaces and deposited in sealed bins outside the home.
You should also rinse the recyclables to prevent residual food waste from decomposing and causing odors. For larger items or hazardous waste such as paint, batteries, or electronics, follow local disposal guidelines to ensure they are safely and properly disposed of, as these items can release harmful substances if not handled appropriately.
10. Test for Radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can find its way into buildings through cracks in the foundation and walls. Exposure to this radioactive gas for a prolonged period can increase the risk of lung cancer. Consider investing in a home radon test kit to determine if your home or workplace has elevated radon levels. If high levels of radon are detected, take action to reduce the concentration by having a certified professional seal the cracks and install a ventilation system.
At Cozy Home Services, we offer the best solutions to restore clean air to your living and working spaces after thoroughly evaluating the causes of contamination. Our team uses state-of-the-art testing devices and technologies to offer services ranging from home performance analysis, plumbing, air conditioning installation, and repair to water filtration. We can advise you on efficient ways to manage indoor air pollution and even install indoor air quality monitors to keep your environment fresh and safe.
To address indoor air pollution issues in your Vacaville, CA home or nearby areas, contact Cozy Home Services today and get the help you need.