We all want to breathe fresh, unpolluted air while enjoying the comfort of our homes. Some indoor pollutants are apparent to us like burning solid fuels, like wood and coal, to heat or cook inside. Other pollutants may not be as apparent to us and the things we can do to better improve our inside air quality.
What are Common Causes of Indoor Air Pollution?
There are many things that are commonly found or used in a home that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. This includes but is not limited to:
Tobacco smoke. First and second-hand smoke indoors is a common pollutant in some of today’s homes.
Although outlawed for use in home construction in the late 1980s, asbestos can still be found in ceiling and floor tiles, insulation, paint, and other materials in older homes.
Like asbestos, the use of formaldehyde in construction has been banned, but it can still be found in materials like floor sealants and paints.
Other toxic chemicals. Commonly used household items like air fresheners, candles, and wax melts can diffuse chemicals and phthalates into the air, which can compromise your respiratory health.
Mold and mildew. Both ducted and ductless HVAC systems can harbor mold, mildew, and dust when not properly maintained. Dirt and other particles get circulated throughout your home any time you turn your heating or cooling on.
How to Quickly Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
There are several steps you can take to reduce your indoor air pollution:
- Stop Burning Candles
Yes, this is a tough one for those of us that enjoy a good candle. Candles with toxic paraffin wax should never be burned in the home, they produce soot comparable to burning diesel fuel. Other types of waxed candles or melts, when burned release carcinogenic toxins (candle soot) such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein into the air. It is a basic rule that burning anything creates pollution, inside or out.
- Open Your Windows
Need some ventilation right away? Throw open a few of your windows. Even if it is chilly, you can do a quick “clear out” of your home’s air by opening the windows and doors and set up fans.
You can place fans backwards in your windows so they pull air from inside your home out, or you can set up one fan to pull fresh air inside the home and another to pull air out, creating a cross breeze that airs out your home in minutes.
- Grow Air Purifying Plants
It is well known that plants are the primary source of Earth’s oxygen. But did you know that some plants, especially those that are easy to grow indoors, can remove germs, dust, and other airborne toxins?
Mother-in-law’s tongue releases oxygen at night, making it a great plant for the bedroom. Spider plants remove formaldehyde and benzene, aloe removes formaldehyde vapors, and weeping figs fight xylene and toluene. These are just a few examples of air purifying plants.
- Change Your HVAC Filter
Your HVAC filter collects dust, allergens, pet hair, and other pollutants every day. It should be changed regularly to ensure that the air being pulled through the filter is not collecting toxins and distributing them throughout your home.
- Have Your HVAC System Cleaned
Changing your HVAC system’s filter is not the only step you should take to ensure your system is not doing more harm than good. Even beyond the filter, your HVAC system can grow mold and mildew that you do not want to breathe. The evaporator coil located in the air handler is in a constant moist environment and annual cleaning is an important step to improve air quality. Annual HVAC Service Agreements provide the assurance that your HVAC system will be thoroughly cleaned to help battle pollutant build up as well as keep it operating at peak performance.
Need Help Eliminating Your Indoor Air Pollution? Call All Weather Mechanical, Inc., at (910) 330-5617. We understand the dangers that poor indoor air quality can cause, especially for vulnerable populations like newborns, young children, and the elderly. We can help you improve your indoor air quality so you can breathe easier at home.