July 26, 2022
Nothing is more important than the air that we breathe, so if your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) is less than stellar, you and your family could be breathing in allergens and other pollutants. Poor IAQ can not only aggravate allergies, it can lead to your family getting sick more often and make it just flat-out harder to breathe. There are things you can do to improve your Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County home’s air quality. We are going to review some tips to better indoor air quality, so you and your family can breathe easy.
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Before we dive into tips to better indoor air quality, we thought it would be a good idea to cover what IAQ is, so we are all on the same page.
Indoor air quality refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants (EPA). Poor indoor air quality has been linked to continued sickness, reduced productivity, and impaired learning and thought processes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates poor indoor air quality as an area of major concern, noting that common contaminants, endlessly redistributed by a central air system, can contribute to allergy symptoms and sickness.
Poor indoor air quality and household pollutants can come from various sources. What’s in your home’s air directly impacts the IAQ. According to the EPA, some sources, such as building materials, furnishings and products like air fresheners, can release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities like smoking, cleaning, redecorating or doing hobbies release pollutants intermittently. Unvented or malfunctioning appliances or improperly used products can release higher and sometimes dangerous levels of pollutants indoors.
Your home’s indoor air quality is important, because it can directly impact the health and well-being of the people who are in your home. There can be short-term and long-term effects. Immediate effects typically are similar to those of colds and other viral infections, while some long-term effects may include respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, and more.
Tips to Better Indoor Air Quality
Now that we have reviewed how important IAQ is, you are likely wondering what is in your home’s air and if there are ways you can improve it. Below we review some tips to better indoor air quality to ensure you and your family are inhaling the best air possible.
- Change Your Air Filters Regularly: Step one to better IAQ is maintaining clean and unobstructed air filters. An unchanged and dirty or soiled air filter means that the blower is spreading unclean, airborne particles throughout your Novato, CA home. These particles include lint, dust, dirt, pollen, and micro allergens that you can’t even see. This means that you and your family will continuously be inhaling unsafe and polluted air. Air filters live up to their name. To put it simply, they filter your air. By not changing your air filter regularly, at least once a month, your indoor air quality can suffer.
- Open Your Windows Daily: A largely shared good habit is simply to open your windows a few minutes every day to let in fresh air. This helps to lower concentrations of toxic chemicals as well as carbon dioxide (CO2). Indoor air is typically several times poorer in quality than outdoor air, so let some of the outside in.
- Don’t Smoke Indoors: If there are smokers in your home, have them do so outdoors. Exhaled air, after taking a drag on a cigarette, contains more than 4,000 different chemicals. There is no risk free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and it can directly impact your home’s IAQ.
- Frequently Dust and Vacuum: Everything turns to dust one day. Keeping your home dust free and tidying and cleaning the place where you live is an effective action to improve air quality. If you have pets in your home, their pet dander and activity can create more dust in the air, so you may need to dust and vacuum more regularly. Pet dander loves to hide in carpets and on furniture and is easily stirred up and added back into your home’s air, just by your family’s regular daily activities. Vacuum and dust at least once a week to help remove as much debris as possible.
- Maintain a Recommended Humidity Level: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you keep the humidity in your home between 30 and 50%. This will limit the growth of mold and the presence of dust mites that pollute the air. Some molds produce allergens and mycotoxins. Mold can cause significant health problems for you and your family. Molds produce allergens and irritants that can create allergic reactions, cause asthma attacks, and other ongoing health issues. Use a dehumidifier to effectively control moisture and allergens.
- Limit Synthetic Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances are all around us. Did you know that many gases evaporating from these products are actually harmful volatile organic compounds? You can arrange slices of lemon on a plate to delicately perfume the air in a room or use baking soda in a small bowl to eliminate odors. Choose fragrance free products for laundry and cleaning needs as well.
- Add Plants: Place an air filtering plant in your home. While plants pollutant removal rate is small, which means there is no way they could capture all of the pollution, they still help to clean the air.
- Invest in a Whole House Electronic Air Cleaner: When it comes to indoor air purification, you have options. We recommend the Trane Clean Effects EAC which uses a revolutionary technology that provides your home with cleaner, healthier air. It removes up to 99.98% of airborne particles as small as .1 micron in diameter.
If you want to ensure that the air you and are family are breathing every day is safe, Bragg Cooling, Heating, & Plumbing can help. We can assess your current IAQ situation by performing a fast and easy air quality test that measures the level of particulate concentration in your air. We will then make recommendations based on our findings.
Let our comfort specialists help you breathe in clean indoor air. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.