You spend a great deal of time obsessing about the way your home (and its contents) look. But how much time have you spent considering what you can’t see: Your home’s air quality? EPA research indicates the air indoors, where you spend about 90% of your time, is often far more polluted than the air outdoors. If you or your family members suffer frequent headaches, sneezing, wheezing, and respiratory issues, or other health problems, your home may be harboring a hidden menace.
Chemicals & VOCS
Common household cleaners, air fresheners, paint, varnish, textiles, as well as the adhesives used to hold together household furnishings can release hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, as well as cause nausea. Newer, more tightly-sealed homes more easily trap these pollutants.
Germs & Allergens
Ductwork can collect and distribute dirt, cold and flu germs, mold spores, and allergens like dander, dust mites, and pollen throughout your home.
Persistent odors? Unpleasant musty odors could indicate mold/mildew issues in the home, especially when paired with peeling paint/wallpaper and a ‘clammy’ feel. Dry, chapped skin, sore throat, or frequent cough? Wood furnishings and structural components with rapidly-reproducing cracks? Your home may be too dry.
Upgrade the Air Filters for Your Home Air Conditioner
A HEPA filter with a MERV rating of 16 can remove around 99% of common particulates, including 90% of bacteria and germs and 50% of chemical VOCs.
NOTE: Perform this upgrade with the help of a pro, who can adjust blower settings to reduce strain and help you avoid HVAC system damage.
Invest in a Whole Home Air Purification System
A whole house air purification system, including a UV air purifier, attached to your HVAC system, can help you combat most indoor air quality threats. Bonus: They install in less than an hour and add less than $10/month to your utility bill.
Consider Humidity Control
Including whole home humidification and dehumidification with a built-in hygrometer (moisture meter). Keep your home between 40-50% humidity for maximum health and comfort.
Smarten-Up Your Thermostat
Today’s Smart Wi-Fi thermostat models not only monitor temperature settings, providing more efficient HVAC system use, but help you monitor humidity levels and keep track of common maintenance such as air filter changes that can effect indoor air quality. Not sure which model is best for your home/lifestyle? Your local air conditioning company can help.
Air Things Out
Air out your home as weather (and air quality) allows, particularly during times of increased airborne pollutants such as painting/sanding.
Choose natural, organic furnishings, including zero-VOC paints, and solid wood furnishings over particle board and glue-laden furnishings, which will reduce nasty vapor buildup in your home.
Keep it Clean
Vacuum, mop, and dust regularly to reduce indoor pollutants. Avoid chemical cleaning products in favor of natural alternatives to uphold air quality.