As summer is making its way here, we’re all spending more time outdoors and enjoying the long days while they last. Although the times spent outdoors are revered, we all know that time spent inside is inevitable. No matter if you’re indoors or outdoors, it’s important to watch out for air quality. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home.”
Fortunately, there are ways you can help improve the quality of your air inside your home, resulting in a more comfortable home where you can breathe easy and reduce your risk for illness and allergies.
- Use natural household cleaners. Household cleaning supplies can be a fairly common cause of indoor pollution. Fumes emitted from the chemicals can irritate your nose, mouth, and lungs. “Those with sensitive lungs and upper airways, like people with asthma and chronic sinusitis, may notice their symptoms getting worse,” says pulmonologist Sumita Khatri, MD. The fumes can make allergies worse due to inflammation and other triggers. Dr. Khatri recommends using natural cleaning supplies and elbow grease to minimize risks. Read more from the Cleveland Clinic.
- No-smoking zone. “Probably the single most important aspect of indoor air pollution is secondhand cigarette smoke,” says Philip Landrigan, MD, a pediatrician and director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and recent studies show that secondhand smoke increases a child’s risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Quitting is not easy, but if you want to stop smoking, support groups, nicotine-replacement therapy, and other medications can help. Focus on your reasons for quitting — not on your cravings. Find out more from WebMD.
- Add some plants. Did you know that plants can do more than add aesthetic value to your home? The NASA Clean Air Study published in 1989 showed results in which certain common indoor plants may help remove toxic agents from the air. Some suggestions include aloe vera, spider plants, Gerber daisies, snake plants, English ivy, azaleas and chrysanthemums. Find out more from Popular Mechanics.
- Open the windows. Breathe some fresh air, literally! “Bringing in cleaner outdoor air is the easiest way to dilute the contaminated air in your home,” says Laureen Burton, a chemist and toxicologist with the EPA. Do it for 10 to 15 minutes a day—unless you live next to a factory, within one-third of a mile of an interstate, or near another potential pollution source. In those cases, the air outside may be worse. Also, skip it on high-pollen-count days or when it’s very humid outside, which can raise the risk of mold. Read more from Prevention.com.
- Air filter maintenance. Changing your heating and/or air-conditioning air filters on a regular basis will help keep your home comfortable, avoid respiratory difficulties, allergies, and illness due to the circulation of bad air in your home. In fact, a dusty filter reduces airflow and increases the energy used by 5 – 15%! Often, a dusty filter will lead to a dirty coil which may affect the performance of your home’s ventilation system. Need to know more? Learn more from Thiele.
Thiele is Indianapolis’ oldest heating and cooling company, so let us keep your family comfortable while you enjoy the pleasure of your home, no matter the season. Call us anytime at 317-639-1111!