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Keeping Your Home Healthy: How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

October 11th, 2008

indoor-air-quality.jpgEnergy efficiency is important, but the more airtight our environments become, the lower the quality of air we breathe inside them. This can seriously impact our respiratory health. We spend the majority of our time indoors and although we do have concerns for outdoor air quality, it’s the indoor air quality we can immediately fix. This article by Lorraine Syratt provides several tips on how to do that.

  • Open up your windows once in a while. Let the fresh air in and the stale air out. Ventilation is important. Most bathrooms and kitchens are fixed with exhaust fans. Using them will remove bad air.
  • Dust mites can be found in upholstery, carpeting, and bedding. An efficient vacuum cleaner is a good investment for your health. A central vac system will send the nasties outside.

  • Mold can cause asthma. Check your basements for mold and take steps to remove it. You can clean mold with dishwashing liquid and water. Rinse and let it dry completely. If the mold is more than a few small patches, you may want to have it professionally assessed. Throw out the rags you used to remove the mold and throw away any clothing or fabrics that still have a musty odor even after you’ve cleaned them. Mold spreads.
  • Molds form from both water leakage and condensation from humid air. Basements are always a prime target for the growth of mold. Ensure your washing machine is leak free. Insulate your water pipes. Seal cracks in basement walls. This will keep out not only mold-causing moisture, but also radon gas which can leak through those cracks.
  • Keep your furnace well-maintained and buy the correct filters according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.
  • Don’t let water sit too long anywhere in your house, including your air conditioning unit and humidifier. Bacteria grows quickly in standing water.
  • Although we may love our dogs and cats, they do add to an unhealthy home. Therefore, as a responsible pet owner, it’s important to vacuum and dust often.
  • Take the cigarettes outside and keep a smoke free home. Not only will you smoke less, you’ll breathe better as well.
  • Buy “green” cleaning and beauty products to reduce emissions.
  • Choose “green” building materials. Some products are highly toxic.
  • Lessen the amount of cement dust on your basement floor by sealing it with cement paint.
  • Dust is hard on the lungs. You may never get rid of it entirely, but regular dusting and cleaning will certainly lessen the amount you breathe.
  • If the vacuum cleaner is not in good shape, it can stir up the bad dust even more. Don’t forget the vents and heating ducts when you vacuum.

Indoor air pollution is becoming a leading cause of asthma and lung related illnesses. Keeping your environment clean and as free of toxins as possible will go a long way toward better lung health in a healthy home.

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