Everyone should be aware of their home’s indoor air quality (IAQ), but special attention should be paid to how healthy your indoor air is if you have babies or children. Unless you’re meditating or taking a yoga class, you probably don’t think much about breathing or the air you’re inhaling.
But, just like everything else you put into your body, your overall wellness is affected by your IAQ. Indoor air quality refers to the concentration of pollutants, the temperature, and the relative humidity, plus the effects of ventilation and HVAC systems, as it impacts your health, comfort, and performance.The average person spends most of their time indoors, and according to the
Environmental Protection Agency, the quality of the air we breathe indoors can be two to five times more polluted than is the air outside! Plus, the air around our homes impacts the air inside our homes. As much as we love “the ‘burgh,” the Pittsburgh area experiences poor air quality. In fact, the city ranks among the worst in the nation, and is the worst on the East Coast, in terms of air quality. So, although we take breathing and the air around us for granted, it’s quite important to think about your indoor air quality and what you can do about it
It’s Worse in the Winter
To keep our indoor environments at comfortable temperatures, we seal them off from the outside air, which means little or no fresh air moves through our homes. This affects the concentration of any pollutants such as allergens, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and chemicals in our indoor air. Plus, the winter, when our furnaces are running, the hot air moves upwards through our homes, which means it’s passed through all the other levels of our homes – and whatever allergens or pollutants exist there – including the basement!
Furthermore, winter air and heating our homes means the air we are breathing is less humid, which can lead to dry itchy eyes, noses, throats, and skin. People often think that we tend to get sicker or get ill more often in the winter because of the cold, but it’s the dry winter air that makes us more susceptible to catching a bug
Sources and Results of Indoor Air Pollution
Although you can’t control everything that impacts our indoor air quality, you might be contributing to the
indoor pollution without even being aware of it. Some of the most common air pollutants in the home
- Mold and mildew
- Natural contaminants such as pet dander and radon
- Toxic substances such as lead asbestos
- Chemicals in cleaning products and pesticides
- Tobacco smoke
- Carbon monoxide
As mentioned above, poor indoor air quality can lead to more severe or more frequent illnesses or other
health issues (e.g., asthma). But indoor pollution can cause other issues, as well, such as
- Itchy, dry, and sore eyes, nose, and throat
- The decreased ability to concentrate or perform other mental function
What You Can Do About It
The good news is there are steps you can take to improve your house’s air quality and improve the
health, comfort and performance of your family members. Here’s how you can take some action!
Keep a Clean House and Choose Product Wisely
Cleaner is healthier! When you regularly clean your house, you remove dust (and dust mites!) mold, pet
dander, and other contaminants hiding around you home. Among other things, your carpets should be
vacuumed at least weekly and with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter
In addition, consider these household choice you can make to better the air quality for your children.
- Get a room air purifier with a HEPA filter for nurseries or children’s rooms
- Cover pillows and mattresses with dust-mite-proof covers, such as ones from Pittsburgh brand American Textile
- Vacuum or wash furniture, drapes, and mattresses on a regular basis
- Wash bedding weekly with hot water
- Toss stuffed animals in the washer routinely
- Choose real wood furniture whenever possible over composite or particle board
- Fix any leaks (roof, plumbing, basement) and remove mold throughout the house
- Monitor indoor humidity and keep it under 50% to control the growth of mold and mildew
- Reduce pet dander by having pets groomed regularly
- Buy cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, and similar products marked “VOC-free” (VOC standsfor volatile organic compounds)
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Some smart thermostats, such as the iComfort®S30ultra-smart thermostat, also monitor your home’s humidity levels and air-purification-system filters. The thermostat will notify you when your filter needs to be changed, allowing you to avoid the bacteria that often comes from not changing a filter frequently enough
Get a Green Thumb
According to Science Daily, placing more plants around your home helps improve IAQ in a cost-effective, sustainable (and pretty!) way. Plants “breathe” the opposite that we do, absorb absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis. Plus, they absorb pollutants and boost humidity by transpiring water vapor through leaf pores. There’s a great TED talk on house plants and where to place them around your home that you might want to check out!
Air It Out
Open doors and windows when you can to ventilate the air. It’s critical to do this if you are painting or cleaning with certain chemicals, for example mold and mildew removers. (If your house smells like a swimming pool, crack a window!) Airing out home as the weather allows brings some fresh air into your home, dramatically improving your home’s air quality.
Since we don’t get many chances to throw open the windows during the Western Pennsylvania winters, consider the PureAir™ Sor other ventilation products from Lennoxto deliver fresh air. The PureAir™ S tackles the three major types of indoor air contaminants—airborne particles, chemical odors and vapors, and germs and bacteria—allowing you and your family to breathe easier
Better IAQ is Within Reach
While you can’t eliminate all allergens and pollutants in your home, you can use the tips above to significantly improve your home’s IAQ. Even a small effort can mean a big difference when it comes to your children’s overall well-being.Give us a call to learn more about the products that are best for your family