A healthy home starts with clean, healthy air.
When your home’s air is clean, your family breathes and feels better. Fewer particles and chemicals floating around your house can mean fewer headaches and allergy flare-ups. And when humidity levels are where they should be, you don’t have to worry as much about mold and mildew, which can trigger an asthma attack or cause other health problems.
Looking for signs of a problem
Signs of an indoor air quality problem in your home include musty odors, condensation on windows, discoloration of walls or ceilings, loose drywall tape, wood warping and peeling or chipping of paint. How you feel is also a good indicator of whether or not you have a problem with indoor air quality. If you can breathe easier when you’re away from home, your home’s air may not be as healthy as it should be.
Preventing indoor air problems
One important step toward improving your home’s air is to avoid as many problems as you can. Here are some guidelines you can follow:
- Check for harmful gases
- Test your home for radon, the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some states offer free or discounted test kits to the public. Information can be found on www.epa.gov.
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm near all sleeping areas. Alarms can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Control sources of pollutants
- Make sure no one smokes in your house.
- Clean regularly to get rid of dust mites, which can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly in children. You can minimize the problem by installing a whole-home filtration system with a MERV 16 rating, the highest capture efficiency among air cleaners.
- Make sure anything that burns gas is vented to the outdoors.
- Avoid using scented candles or aerosol sprays to control odors. Try to find out what’s causing the odor and eliminate it, rather than masking it.
- Use cleaning supplies, paints and hobby products that are labeled as low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound), which means they are safer for your house and the environment. If you have concerns about chemical vapors, install an air purification system.
- Avoid air-quality products that produce ozone, a known lung irritant.
Keep humidity in check
- Keep humidity levels under 50% to prevent mold and mildew buildup. If you live in a coastal or warm region, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
- Use a humidifier to help ease respiratory irritation caused by dry winter air. Steam humidifiers produce a pure, bacteria-free vapor to restore moisture to indoor air.
- Repair all leaks and cracks in your home.
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated to prevent moisture problems. If you have a newer home that is tightly sealed, install a ventilation system to replace stale, contaminated indoor air with fresher outside air.
- Have your heating and cooling equipment inspected to make sure there’s no buildup of moisture or contaminants. Now Heating and Air can help.