Tag: indoor air quality

4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality & Breathe Easier

Indoor Air Quality - Happy Family

Did you know that the average American spends 90% of his or her time indoors, but that many studies have indicated that indoor air quality is generally poor? In fact, indoor air is two to five times more heavily polluted than outdoor air.

Poor indoor air can cause and aggravate several health conditions, so finding a way to purify indoor air is important for your overall health. The populations who are most at risk from indoor pollutants are children, the elderly, and the chronically ill because their lungs aren’t as sturdy as other groups.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the causes of indoor pollution and share some affordable ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality.

 

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Historically, a major source of indoor air pollution was soot produced by the fuels that we burned to heat our homes. Although most US homes no longer rely on wood or coal for heat, many still burn wood for warmth and ambiance in the winter. Even scented candles add measurable soot to a home’s air.

Many other sources of pollution are a byproduct of ordinary life. For example, cooking adds smoke and oil particles to your home’s air, especially if your stove does not have a vented hood. The scented room sprays, perfumes, and hairsprays that we use every day can linger in the air and irritate sensitive respiratory systems. Indoor tobacco use is another significant contributor to poor air quality.

 

Symptoms of Poor Air Quality

Persistent itchy, watery eyes, irritation in your nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue are all signs that you’ve been breathing polluted air. Poor air quality can also aggravate existing conditions like allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases.

How can you tell if your symptoms are the results of your home’s air? If your irritation seems to wane when you’re away from home and return when you come back, it could be due to your air quality.

 

How to Improve Air Quality

There are several steps that you can take to improve your indoor air quality, many of which are entirely free.

 

1. Eliminate Pollutants

An excellent place to begin your clean air journey is to end behaviors that add toxins to the air. If you smoke inside, commit to smoking only outdoors. Dust and vacuum regularly. Choose LED candles over flame candles. Use gentle household cleaners rather than those with potent, toxic chemicals.

Instead of covering bad odors with scented candles or spray, track down the source and take it outside. If the weather is particularly windy, if you’re grilling, or if someone nearby is having a backyard bonfire, close your windows to keep the pollutants out.

When you shower, run the overhead fan to reduce moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth. Lastly, don’t idle your car in an attached garage, as the fumes can seep into your home.

 

2. Ventilate Your Home

Since outdoor air contains fewer pollutants than indoor air, an easy (and free!) way to reduce contaminants in your home is to ventilate with fresh outdoor air. When the weather permits, bring in as much fresh air as possible.

Open a window in your kitchen when you cook if your stove does not have a vented hood. If you’re painting, cleaning, sanding, or doing any other periodic activity that puts scents and particulates in the air, open your windows and doors.

 

3. Purify Your Air

Air purification is, essentially, a process of drawing contaminants out of your air. One effective way to do this is by changing your HVAC filter regularly. The frequency at which you change it depends on several factors, such as your home and family size, whether you have pets, and whether you have allergy-sufferers in your home.

A second strategy for purifying the air is to install an air purification system, either a whole-home or portable unit. Air purifiers draw particles, allergens, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, and other contaminants out of the air. The most effective units will have high air circulation and an efficient collector to purify the maximum amount of air. We recommend whole-home air purifiers from Aprilaire.

 

4. Manage Your Humidity

Homes that are too humid can produce mold, mildew, and attract dust mites. Your home’s humidity should not be above 50%. Homes in cold climates may need to keep their humidity under 40% to prevent condensation on windows and walls. If you’re struggling to keep your home’s humidity down, consider running a dehumidifier.

However, homes that are too dry can aggravate respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma. Using a humidifier to maintain a healthy level of humidity can also help keep hardwood floors, cabinetry, and wooden furniture in good shape. If your home is too dry, you should run a humidifier.

Balancing your home’s humidity takes patience and may need adjustment as the seasons change.

 

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with Guin

Guin Service is passionate about providing ways for people to breathe clean air. Partner with Guin to assess your home’s air quality and choose a solution tailored to your family’s unique needs. With over 50 years of experience, Guin professionals can install high-quality indoor air products in your home that will improve your family’s health.

Breathe Easier: 4 Tips for Better Indoor Air Quality

Improve Your Home's Air Quality

You know that breathing polluted air is bad for your health, but did you also know that there are measurable health benefits to improving your home’s indoor air quality? Giving your lungs fresh air can add a few months to your life, give you more energy, and help your digestive tract function more efficiently. 

Most people spend the majority of their time indoors, but the air inside homes and buildings can be more polluted than the smoggy air in a large, metropolitan city. To reap the benefits of breathing in clean air, it’s essential that you address the air quality in your home.

Other than keeping your home clean and dust free, you can open your windows regularly to bring in fresh outdoor air. However, if you want to purify your air further, try the following tips:

 

1.  Install an Air Filtration System

If there are small children, elderly family members, or severe allergy-sufferers in your home, you should consider installing an air filtration system. You can choose between portable or whole-house units that will filter dust, pollen, dust mites, mold, smoke, and pet dander out of the air. 

Whole-house filters integrate with your existing HVAC system. As air flows through your ducts, it runs through a robust filter that cleans the air before sending it through your home. One of the primary advantages of whole-house units is that they typically need maintenance just once each year. Most portable units need new filters multiple times each year, and the expense of replacing several filters throughout your home adds up quickly.

 

2.  Use Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Managing the humidity in your home is a delicate balancing act that changes with the seasons. The air holds a lot of moisture during warm summers, but the humidity plummets with the temperature in the winter.

Too much humidity in your home can boost mold and mildew growth. It can also rot wooden furniture and home framing. When your doors are more difficult to open and close, it’s a sign that they may have absorbed too much moisture. Healthy home humidity levels are from 30% – 50%. 

A hygrometer can help you monitor your humidity. If the humidity is consistently higher than 50%, you should invest in a dehumidifier. Moisture-loving plants can also help draw water out of the air. 

On the other hand, air that is too dry can cause respiratory infections and can exacerbate allergies and asthma. Our lungs are lined with moist membranes, but dry air makes it harder for the membranes to filter out particulates, which causes lung irritation.

If the humidity in your home is below 30%, you can improve your health by using a humidifier. Your skin, nose, and lungs will thank you! Moist air also helps keep wooden furniture and floors in good condition and reduces static electricity. 

 

3.  Invest in a UV Air Purifier

UV air purifiers reside in the supply plenum of your home’s HVAC system and destroy pollution particulates, microbes (MRSA, e-Coli, and Norwalk), and mold spores. UV lamps can also reduce odor-causing particles from cooking, pet dander, and dust. 

When your HVAC pulls air through the supply plenum, the UV lamp destroys undesirable particulates before sending the clean air into your home. UV air purifiers work great in conjunction with air filtration systems. Together, the two systems can create extremely clean, high-quality air for your home.

 

4.  Have Your Ducts Professionally Cleaned

Dirty ducts spread dust and mold spores through the air in your home, but a professional duct cleaning gets rid of accumulated dust, debris, and microbes. In addition to improving your home’s indoor air quality, clean ducts also help your HVAC system run more efficiently. You’ll breathe easier and lower your energy bill at the same time!

Not all homes need yearly duct cleaning. However, if you’ve recently had your home renovated or if allergy-sufferers are struggling more than usual, a duct cleaning would be wise. Also, if you’ve thoroughly cleaned your vent registers and you still have dust, pet hair, and debris coming out of your ducts, it’s time to schedule a full cleaning.

 

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

If you need recommendations for an air filtration system, UV air purifiers, a humidifier or dehumidifier, or if you would like a full duct cleaning, schedule an appointment with a Guin specialist today.