Steps you can take to make the air inside your home cleaner and ultimately – safer
According to the EPA pollutants inside your home can be up to 100 times higher than outdoors. Indoor air quality is one of the EPA’s top five environmental risks to public health. There has been an alarming increase in the number of children with severe allergies and asthma. This increase has been linked to increasingly poor indoor air quality.
The American Heart Association has linked poor air quality to heart problems while the American Lung Association lists it as a leading cause of lung cancer. You can find these facts on the EPA web site, American Lung Association and many additional sites. Although this information is readily available it is believed up to 87% of American homeowners are not aware that pollution may be worse inside their homes than outdoors.
You understand the health benefits of clean water yet most people are unaware of or ignore the importance of breathing clean air. There are many things you can do to improve the air quality inside your home. Let’s briefly discuss the 3 most important ways of improving indoor air quality.
1. Source Removal
2. Air Cleaning
3. Increased Ventilation
Pollutants infiltrate your home and take up residency through different pathways into your home. A simple way to reduce the infiltration is to remove shoes before entering your home. Doorway mats are another simple pollutant reduction technique. Minimize the use and storage of harsh cleaner or cleaners with fragrances. Do not idle cars, lawnmowers or other engines in the attached garage. New furniture or carpet typically out-gases harsh chemicals. When you bring new items such as this into your home, open the windows often and for long periods of time. Even as the odor dissipates, the off-gassing continues. A way to remove the off-gassing, (often referred to as volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s) is by having live plants in your home.
Air quality is diminished by an excessive volume of particulates, low humidity, and the presence of chemicals, odors, viruses and bacteria. Particulate accumulation can be reduced by installing an upgraded filter in the heating system in your home. Filtering systems are available which will remove particulates down to .001 microns, (about 1/10th the diameter of a human hair). A whole-house humidifier is a practical solution to improving air quality and improving various aspects of your health. In addition to improving the air quality a humidifier can also help to lower your heating costs. Humidified air feels warmer. An air purifier can greatly reduce contaminants from the air. Chemicals, odors, viruses and bacteria have a detrimental effect on your health and the health of your family. Any combination from one of the air cleaning systems to all three will have a great impact on improving the air you breathe inside your home.
Homes today are built much tighter than at any time in US history. This building focus was implemented in the 1970’s and continues to be improved upon every year. The result of the tighter construction is a reduced carbon footprint per square foot. This building focus is great for the environment and your wallet however, it is not so great for your health. In order to reduce the build-up of VOC’s, toxins, viruses and additional air quality robbers it is important to intentionally bring in fresh air.
One effective, low tech way of accomplishing this is to open a few windows in your home and living in Denver, Colorado, we have many days we can do that. It is not always advisable to open windows however, as it can increase your home’s heating and cooling costs. An open window can also aggravate allergies as well, depending on the time of year. A whole-house ventilation system can be installed to bring in fresh air (without the utility penalty) while maintaining the temperature setting, and humidity level of the inside air as well.
As you consider the options available to improve the air quality in your home, please contact us. We are indoor air quality geeks. We want to understand your goals. By asking questions and performing a site assessment we can then list solutions for you, your home and your family. Click here for commercial air quality services.