Your indoor air can have allergens like pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites. In low levels, these allergens do not result in detrimental health effects, but in high levels and constant exposure, they can lead to serious problems like dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nose and throat irritation, heart disease, and even cancer.
According to studies, the most common indoor air pollutants are pesticides, carbon monoxide (usually from cookware and heaters that use natural gas), formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide. Meanwhile, some older homes have lead paint and asbestos insulation, which can pose a risk of serious lung problems.
To help you maintain your indoor air quality clean and safe, follow these simple hacks.
Use indoor plants as natural air filters.
A 1989 study published by NASA showed that indoor plants could minimize the level of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene and formaldehyde in the air. Certain plants like peace lily, bamboo palm, devil’s ivy, Chinese evergreen, and photos plants are particularly effective in improving the air quality in homes.
Another thing to keep in mind: The leafier and bigger the plant is, the better.
Control the humidity levels in your home.
Too much moisture in the air can lead to mold and mildew growth, which release spores that can cause severe allergic reactions to some people.
Meanwhile, these are some telltale signs of high humidity levels in homes: heavy and warm atmosphere, musty odors, frequently foggy windows, and mildew/moist growth on paper, fabric, etc.
If you suspect high humidity levels inside your home, check for leaking pipes, use exhaust/ventilation fans (especially in the kitchen and showroom) crack open your windows, keep your gutters clean, dry your laundry outside, and/or use a dehumidifier.
Change your AC filters.
A dirty air filter not just forces your air conditioner to work harder to keep your house cool but also lowers your home’s air quality.
A good rule of thumb is to replace your AC filters every 90 days, but if you have allergies or have furry companions, pros often recommend replacing them every 45 days.
Install exhaust fans or range hoods in your kitchen.
Carbon monoxide comes from escaped natural gas that is unburned. As a result, the kitchen usually has the highest concentration of this toxic gas because of the gas stoves and ovens.
To keep your family safe, make sure that your kitchen has exhaust fans and/or range hoods, which are known to eliminate or at least reduce the levels of carbon monoxide.
Aside from gas stoves and ovens, carbon monoxide may also escape from clothes dryers, water heaters, boilers, wood and gas fireplaces, motor vehicles, grills, generators, and lawn equipment.
Use low- or zero-VOC paints and varnishes.
Common paints and varnishes contain VOCs, which are emitted gas from certain liquids and solids that cause eye, throat and nose irritation, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, etc. When people are exposed to high levels of VOCs, they may experience severe damage to the lungs, kidneys, central nervous system, and liver.
To keep your indoor air quality clean and safe, make sure that you use low- or zero-VOC paints and varnishes when doing DIY projects (these products are often labeled odorless).
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Hire professional HVAC contractors.
HVAC specialists can inspect your air ducts, cooling and heating systems, and indoor air quality. Ideally, work with a company that also offers in-duct air purifiers like REME HALO, which studies have shown to remove allergens, pollutants, and a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.
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