Outdoor pollution isn’t the only air quality problem. Homeowners must take indoor air pollution seriously.
A study from the European Heart Journal found that indoor pollution is responsible for nearly 9 million deaths per year; of that number, roughly half are linked to illnesses caused by pollution from cooking, according to the World Health Organization.
The stats only get worse from there. Numbers don’t lie, but what can be done about harmful indoor air pollution?
The answer starts with good indoor air quality practices. Start improving indoor air quality with these actionable tips and tricks.
1. Improve Your Ventilation
Dirty vents and outdated ventilation is a primary source of indoor air pollution.
Start cleaning your home’s ventilation system regularly, also known as “air ducts.” Use a duster that can get into those hard-to-reach areas. Take a lightly dampened cloth and wipe the inside and outside of your vents.
Incorrectly installed air ducts are also a problem. Those air ducts are more likely to loosen and recirculate dust, dirt, lint, pet dander, and more debris. If your indoor allergies are increasing, that could be the sign of an air duct problem.
Maintain Your HVAC system
Make ventilation cleaning a part of your whole HVAC maintenance routine.
Don’t just clean your AC filters, but replace them when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to replace your AC filters every three months; if you have pets, you should replace them more frequently.
Make sure your furnace isn’t leaking harmful gas into the home, and replace your HVAC system every ten years at the very least. As noted by idahoheating.com, HVAC humidity levels also play a role in maintaining indoor air quality
2. Rethink Your Cooking Habits and Appliances
Remember the WHO report that found that 4 million people perish from cooking practices alone? Dangerous cooking methods cause more than just fires. Old stoves can leak harmful kerosene into the home, causing pneumonia, lung cancer, and even heart disease.
There are a few ways to improve cooking practices. First, upgrade your stove to an energy-efficient model. Avoid using wood-burning stoves indoors, but installing one outside is fine. Consider replacing your gas stove with an electric stove to decrease gas omissions.
The same advice applies to your oven. Unfortunately, gas ovens can release a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide over time. Upgrade to an energy-efficient oven or replace it with an electric alternative.
3. Check for Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Carbon monoxide is odorless, which makes it hard to detect before it’s too late.
Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, feeling lightheaded, nausea, and respiratory pain. As symptoms worsen, you may experience vomiting, cognitive problems, and blurry vision. If left untreated, severe poisoning may lead to brain damage.
Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to flu symptoms. You must check for leaks in your home. Look for soot staining, broiler stains, Stale-smelling air, and yellow burner flames.
While carbon monoxide doesn’t have an odor, leaks are often followed by smelly exhaust fumes. These fumes are a telltale sign of a problem.
4. Get Rid of Mold
Indoor mold can cause painful respiratory conditions if left untreated.
If you suspect you have mold, call a mold inspection and removal company, or remove it yourself. Fortunately, you can wipe black mold from the walls with all-purpose cleaners and bleach—even regular soap and water works.
Another way to prevent mold from growing indoors is to maintain your roof regularly. Homes that experience harsh weather are more likely to have roof damage. Make sure to protect your roof before storms hit to prevent leaks and surface mold.
5. Get Rid of Harmful Chemicals
Carbon monoxide isn’t the only dangerous chemical lurking in your home. Your indoor air pollution may be caused by harmful levels of pesticides, synthetic perfumes, nitrogen dioxide, cleaning fumes, and formaldehyde.
Try your best to use cleaning products and accessories that don’t contain harmful chemical agents. Fortunately, there are plenty of “green” cleaning options available.
Asbestos is another problem. Laws are in place to prevent housing from including asbestos; however, your vacant properties may have asbestos, which causes indoor pollution. Lead is another concern, as lead poisoning has been linked to kidney problems, nerve damage, and impaired brain function.
6. Clean Carpets and Fabric Furnishings
Did you know that indoor pollutants love to hide in your carpets, rugs, bedsheets, and upholstery? It’s time to bust out your vacuum cleaner, but don’t forget to replace that dusty filter bag!
Pet hair and dander are two of the biggest culprits of indoor pollution, and they love to stick to fabrics. Keep a handheld vacuum on hand when your furry friend decides to jump up on the couch when you’re not looking. Sticky lint rollers are also good to have on-hand, especially when you have extra-furry animals.
Don’t forget to wash your fabrics regularly, and take your area rugs outside to shake out the dust and debris. If cleaning rugs and carpets become too burdensome, consider switching to hardwood floors.
7. Stop Smoking in the House
Whatever you do, don’t smoke in the house. Walls absorb tobacco smoke like sponges, which can lead to painful respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and lung cancer. Indoor smoking is also known to cause asthma in young children and heart disease in adults.
When smoking outside, stand as far away from your home as possible. Remember, tobacco smoke wafts into the house. Close all the windows before stepping outside for a cigarette.
Outdoor tobacco smoke also causes indoor pollution for your neighbors, so be mindful at all times.
Start Improving Air Quality At Home
Are you ready to breathe again? Healthy air quality starts with indoor pollution prevention. Remember these tips for improving air quality in your home.
Healthier air quality is one way to boost your overall well-being. Visit the blog for tips, tricks, and hacks for living your best life.