indoor air quality is partly a result of everyday activities that emit contaminants into the air. The health effects of poor indoor air quality may be experienced immediately after exposure or even years later with constant exposure. These effects can range from mild symptoms like irritation or headaches, to severe ailments like respiratory diseases and cancer.
One of the primary ways to avoid poor indoor air quality is to maintain your home’s air system regularly. This involves hiring professional air duct cleaning services at least once every three to five years and replacing air filters periodically, among other maintenance tasks.
Apart from proper maintenance, it’s crucial to avoid doing activities that decrease your home’s indoor air quality. Here are the ways with which you may be unknowingly harming the quality of your home, and how you can avoid them.
Smoking inside and outside
Cigarette smoke is one of the worst pollutants that can harm your home’s indoor air quality. However, even if you smoke outside of your home, you may still be bringing in pollutants that are stuck on your clothes, hair, and skin. And if your smoking area is right outside of your home, the smoke can still enter your house through gaps in windows, doors, and walls.
Repeated exposure to smoke, especially secondhand and thirdhand, can increase the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. These risks are higher in children than in adults. To protect your family against the dangers of cigarette smoke, take the necessary measures to stop smoking right away. If you need medical help, ask your doctor about therapy or medication that can help you quit.
Having lots of clutter
The more stuff there are is in your house to collect dust, the poorer your indoor air quality will be. Excessive clutter also makes it difficult for you to maintain a clean house, and if you don’t clean your house thoroughly, the dirt and allergens present in your home are likely to be higher in number.
Reduce the amount of clutter in your home. Keep surfaces as tidy as they can be and store things inside closets or drawers to minimize dust. Not only will de-cluttering your home increase your indoor air quality, but it will also make for a cleaner, more organized house that is conducive to relaxation and productivity.
Using craft supplies in closed spaces
Craft supplies such as glue, paint, and toner ink may contain air pollutants that can cause or exacerbate respiratory conditions. You can avoid craft supplies from reducing your indoor air quality by only using them in well-ventilated areas.
Not shampooing carpet
Vacuuming your carpet, even if you do it regularly, can only do so much to remove dust and debris from your floors. If you don’t shampoo your carpet, too, you’re most likely walking on a saturated breeding ground of bacteria and contaminants. Not only that, but your indoor air quality is most likely suffering as well.
Have your carpets shampooed at least once a year, on top of vacuuming twice or thrice a week. If you can do without the carpets, consider having them removed to save money and improve your indoor air quality at the same time.
Using strong household cleaners
Many commercial household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) in your house, especially when used in excess. Avoid this by choosing products that do not have (or contain reduced amounts) VOCs, irritants, fragrances, and flammable ingredients. Better yet, eliminate the use of chemical cleaners in your house and go for natural cleaners that contain ingredients like baking soda, vodka, lemon, and other organic materials.
Not ventilating your kitchen
Gas stoves can emit harmful contaminants into the air, particularly carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. When cooking, be sure to turn on your kitchen hood or open a window to let these contaminants flow outside.
Perfumes and colognes contain volatile organic compounds, making them a significant source of air pollution. That said, avoid spraying perfumes or cologne in excessive amounts, or avoid using them entirely. If you must spray perfume, it’s better to do it outside of your house or near a window to ensure that VOCs don’t stay inside your home for long.
Avoiding these things and maintaining your home’s HVAC system is the best approach to ensuring good indoor air quality in your home. Don’t wait for your family to start experiencing respiratory problems before you act–if you suspect that your home’s air is not clean or safe, start looking for the problem areas right away.