Breathe Easy: Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is one of those subjects you probably never think about until it goes sour. Filthy air conditioning filters, pet hair and dander, and high relative humidity can all contribute to this invisible yet unpleasant problem. Poor IAQ is known to trigger allergies and asthmatic responses and cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and general malaise. The good news is you can improve indoor air quality in your home by following these tips.

Clean and Upgrade Your Air Filter

Whether you have a central air unit or stand-alone furnace, the air filter is important in controlling IAQ. Always check your filter monthly and replace it when filthy. Consider upgrading to a pleated filter with a MERV rating in the 7 to 12 range. These higher performing filters will catch smaller particles like dust, pollen, and mold spores and give relief to allergy and asthma sufferers.

Reduce High Relative Humidity

Relative humidity (RH) is a major player in air quality. Humidity above 50 percent can make the air in your home feel clammy and uncomfortable. Dust mites and mold thrive in humid spaces, increasing dust accumulations and airborne mold spores. You can buy a hygrometer to monitor your home’s RH, which you want to stay in the 30 to 50 percent range.

Reduce humidity by ventilating steam while showering, boiling water, and cooking. Continuously circulate air with ceiling fans, open windows, and your air system. You can install a dehumidifier add-on to your central air system if high RH is a significant problem, or you can buy a stand-alone appliance for a problematic room.

Clean Often and Thoroughly

Weekly vacuuming of all carpets, upholstery, and even hard floors can make a huge difference in reducing the amount of airborne dust and other air polluting debris. During your cleaning routine, dust shelves and other flat surfaces with a lightly damp rag and clean your wood furniture with a non-VOC cleaner.

Keep Up With Your Laundry

Don’t let laundry pile up and remain untouched as this makes an inviting habitat for mold and dust mites. Drapery, bed linens, and shower curtains make great homes for dust mites and bacteria, too, so clean them regularly with hot water above 130 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate these irritants. Also, make laundering your bedding a weekly routine.

Groom Your Pets

Pet hair and dander can trigger allergies for some people, including devout pet lovers. Furthermore, pets allowed outdoors carry in grass, pollen, and other debris on their coats that can dirty your indoor air. Brush and bathe your pets regularly to remove loose hair and debris, and be sure to wash their beds often.

Reduce Chemical Pollutants

Many household cleaners, paints, and aerosols contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which cause a host of health issues. Stay aware of the products you buy by aiming for non-VOC items. When you must use a product that contains VOCs, make sure you ventilate the area well, and if possible, do the task outdoors.

For more information on making changes to your air system to improve your home’s air quality, contact ESCO Heating, AC, Plumbing & Electric at 801-204-9444.