The quality of your indoor air can have a major impact on the health and comfort of you and your family. Poor air quality can be caused by a variety of different factors that can contribute to health issues such as allergies, asthma, respiratory illnesses, and more. Here are 10 common factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality and what you can do about them.
1. Pet Dander
Pet dander is a common allergen that can be found in many indoor environments. It is made up of microscopic particles of skin and fur that are shed by cats, dogs, and other animals. These particles can become airborne and cause allergy and asthma symptoms in people who are sensitive to them.
To minimize pet dander levels, vacuum and dust regularly, use air purifiers with a HEPA filter, and keep your pets out of areas where people with allergies or asthma spend a lot of time.
2. Dust Mites
These tiny creatures feed on dead skin cells, dust, and other debris in carpets, beds, and couches. Their droppings and body parts can cause allergy and asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Fortunately, dust mites can be easily controlled by regular vacuuming and washing of bed linens in hot water. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter can also help reduce levels of dust mites in the air. You may also want to get a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels as dust mites can’t survive in dry environments.
3. Cooking Fumes
Cooking and burning food can produce smoke, fumes, and particles that can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Even if you can’t detect it, these particles can build up over time and cause health problems.
The best way to keep cooking fumes out of your indoor air is to always use an exhaust fan when you are cooking. This will remove the smoke, fumes, and particles from the air. You can also use an air purifier with a carbon filter to help reduce levels of cooking fumes in your home. If neither of these options is available to you, then make sure to open windows when you are cooking and let the air circulate for a few minutes before closing them again.
4. Furniture Off-gassing
Many types of furniture and other items are made out of materials that can release harmful chemicals into the air. This is known as off-gassing, and it can greatly reduce the quality of your indoor air.
To minimize off-gassing, try to purchase furniture and other items that are made out of natural materials such as wood, wool, and cotton. You can also open windows for a few hours after bringing new items into your home.
5. Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are designed to keep your home clean and bacteria-free, but they can also contribute to poor air quality. Many of these products contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can be released into the air when they are used.
Look for cleaning products that are made with natural ingredients and don’t contain any harsh chemicals or fragrances. If you are using aerosol sprays, make sure to open windows or use a fan to help the fumes dissipate more quickly.
6. Air Fresheners
Most air fresheners release chemicals into the air in order to mask odors. While they do their job well, these chemicals can cause respiratory irritation and other health problems in sensitive individuals.
If you want to get rid of odors in your home, look for natural alternatives such as baking soda or essential oils. You can also use a fan to help circulate fresher air throughout your home. While this won’t get rid of odors completely, it can help reduce their presence in the air, and it will prevent you from inhaling any of the chemicals found in air fresheners.
Smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products can be extremely harmful to your health and the health of those around you. Even if you don’t smoke indoors, secondhand smoke from outdoors can still linger in the air and cause serious respiratory problems.
It’s best to keep outdoor smokers at least 25 feet away from entryways and other windows to avoid secondhand smoke entering your home. You should also wash your hands once you come back indoors if you have been smoking as this can help reduce the number of smoke particles brought into your home.
When you paint a room, the chemicals and fumes released into the air can be hazardous to your health. The best way to avoid this problem is to use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, particularly those specifically designed for indoor use.
When painting, make sure to open windows and use fans to help circulate the air. This will help reduce the number of paint fumes in the air and prevent them from building up. Keep the room ventilated for a few days after painting, and avoid spending long amounts of time in the room until the fumes have completely dissipated.
Fireplaces are a great source of warmth and ambiance, but they can also be a major source of indoor air pollution. When burning wood, it is important to use dry, well-seasoned wood as wet or unseasoned wood can create more smoke and higher levels of indoor air pollutants.
It is also important to make sure your fireplace and chimney are well-maintained. Have it inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional to ensure that there is no buildup of soot or creosote in the chimney as this can lead to an increase in smoke and other pollutants.
10. Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew spores can linger in damp, poorly ventilated areas. These can pose a health hazard as the spores can cause respiratory irritation and allergy symptoms.
To prevent mold and mildew from becoming a problem in your home, make sure to ventilate bathrooms and other damp areas properly. Keep all surfaces clean and dry, and use a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture in the air. You should also run the exhaust fan whenever you are taking a shower or bath. If you do notice any mold or mildew, make sure to clean it up immediately and take steps to prevent it from coming back.
Taking the necessary steps to improve indoor air quality can help you create a healthier, more pleasant home environment and reduce your risk of health complications. If you’re concerned about your home’s indoor air quality, White Mechanical, Inc. can help you determine the source of the problem and provide a plan to get your air quality back up to standard. As a top-rated provider of commercial and residential air conditioning, heating, and indoor air quality services in the Foothill Ranch area, we are here to help keep your property comfortable all year long. Contact White Mechanical, Inc. to learn more about our services, and get started on improving your air quality today.