Indoor Air Quality: 6 Tips for Improvement

Spring in sunny Colorado means even more time in the great outdoors, soaking up the rays and breathing in fresh air. Did you know the air quality inside our homes matters, too? Read on for tips on keeping your family healthy by increasing your home’s IAC — Indoor Air Quality.

The furnace filter protects the blower fan from dust, hair, debris, and other contaminants taken in by the return duct. A single occupant home with no pets should change the furnace filter every 6 months or so, an average suburban home with no pets can go 90 days — 60 days between changes with one pet in the home. A home with multiple pets should change the filter about once a month.

Many common household cleaning products are filled with VOCs — Volatile Organic Compounds, and can impact the quality of the air you breathe in your home. VOCs can hurt your respiratory health when released into the air, causing wheezing, coughing, or even asthma attacks. Read the labels on your cleaning supplies, and consider using natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar to aid with cleaning. Pinterest is a great source for natural cleaning remedy ideas.

Colorado residents love their furry friends — after all, pets are family! Depending on the level of shedding, dander, and outdoor dirt your dog, cat, or other pets leave around the house, your pets may be aggravating respiratory issues and causing irritation to eyes, noses, and throats. Consider installing plug in HEPA filters in rooms with frequent pet visitors, and upgrading your furnace filter to trap even more dust and dander.

Mold thrives in dark, humid, damp areas. Not only is the odor of mold generally unpleasant, long term exposure to some molds can lead to asthma attacks, pneumonia, and fever — all caused by the microscopic spores released into the air. Distilled white vinegar offers an earth-friendly, safe method to kill mold. Spray the vinegar directly onto the moldy surface (do NOT dilute with water), allow it to dry for an hour, and wipe the area clean.

Some types of flooring can impact the air quality in your home. Carpet can harbor dust, mites, and and release VOCs after installation. Hardwood flooring finished in your home can release contaminants into the air. Depending on the subsurface and glue or other material used for installation. Do your research to ensure you are choosing flooring options that are not only quality and durable, but safe and healthy for your family and the air you breathe in your home.

Plants are one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to improve the air quality in our homes. Back in 1989, NASA conducted an experiment to determine whether plants really do purify the air in a house. The results conclusively proved that indoor plants purify the air by eliminating some of the organic chemicals present. Check out this article on low maintenance house plants that purify the air for ideas.

Poor indoor air quality can lead to discomfort and even health complications, but a little knowledge, and practical efforts to keep your indoor air safe and clean, can go a long way toward improving the impact IAQ has on our health. 

Jack Meyers  

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