What do you picture when someone starts talking about air pollution? Images of smoke-filled factory stacks, hazy clouds, and the effects of acid rain are just a few of the images that flood the average mind when we begin talking about compromised air quality and the toll that it takes on us and our planet.
Did you know that a more dangerous and dire situation is all around you right now, and you may not even realize it? Your indoor air may be even more saturated with toxic chemicals and debris than that you would find outside, even in thick city smog. Recent studies reveal that the level of airborne contaminants and pollutants is nearly five times higher indoors than outdoors, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. With this kind of toxic debris swirling around us in our own homes, there have to be consequences that come with being exposed to it on a daily basis.
Toxic Effects of Poor Indoor Air Quality
The effects of poor indoor air quality may be short-term or long-term, but none of them are conditions that you’d want to manage on an ongoing basis. Some of the more common symptoms reported include:
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Respiratory Issues
- Allergies and asthma
- Eye Irritation and Dryness
- Development of autoimmune conditions
Taking simple steps to manage indoor air quality proactively in partnership with your HVAC system will reduce the likelihood of incurring health issues and keep you breathing cleaner all year round. Follow these simple steps for indoor air success!
Eliminate Smoking Indoors
A major contributor to poor indoor quality is the practice of smoking indoors. Particularly in homes that are airtight, the presence of smoke contributes to a host of respiratory issues and allergies that affect the whole body. If you must smoke, do so outside in a well-ventilated area, and make sure that you are not bringing any fumes or smoke back inside with you as you open and shut doors and windows. This simple step alone will prevent many potential respiratory complications from taking root for you and your loved ones.
Clean and Maintain Wood and Gas Stoves
Gas and wood stoves can throw off harmful exhaust fumes that, when breathed over time, can cause a host of lung-related diseases. Illnesses such as chronic asthma and even COPD can be a direct result of breathing in too many toxic substances that the lungs simply cannot process or clean out. Improving ventilation by installing ventilation systems and regularly cleaning your stove and exhaust pipes will help reduce the circulation of harmful particulates that can lead to respiratory distress.
Improve Ventilation Around Your Home
Proper ventilation helps lower levels of indoor contaminants, improving your indoor air. Regularly open doors and windows to let fresh air inside (yes, even in the wintertime), and run ceiling and floor fans to increase circulation and move stagnant air through your home. You’ll naturally see an improvement in the quality of your indoor air if you keep things moving continuously.
Clean That House!
Everything from pet dander and dead skin cells to dust, mites, and bacteria contribute to the potpourri of invisible sludge that moves through your indoor air. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? By regularly cleaning and dusting surfaces in your home, you can effectively trap a number of these fine particles and keep them from entering your body via membranes in the nose and skin. Vacuum, dust, and mop frequently, and you’ll contribute to a cleaner, healthier home environment.
Consider Non-toxic Cleaning Products
While you’re busy cleaning, pay attention to the type of cleaning products you are using. Most commercial cleaning products are incredibly toxic to humans and pets, and you should limit contact with them at all costs. As you use these toxic substances, the residue left on surfaces can evaporate into the air, compromising your air quality as well. Stick to non-hazardous, all-natural cleaning products as you attempt to clean up your home.
Control and Elimintate Pests
Pests are not only an inconvenience, but they can be hazardous to your health. The presence of roaches, mice, and bedbugs can leave their own trails of filth that you’ll end up breathing in at some point; this pest residue can quickly enter your home’s ductwork and circulate toxic substances throughout. Keep a handle on your pest control situation, and eliminate one source of potential toxicity that can wreak havoc on your health.
Control Humidity Levels
Excess water vapor has an amazing ability to attract vapor clusters and debris like a magnet, making your home a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Over time, the development of mold and mildew in your HVAC system and home can cause respiratory issues, eye and throat irritation, and allergies. Keep humidity levels at around 40 percent for optimal comfort and reduce the opportunity for toxic growth in your home.
Skip the Fragrances
Yes, scented candles and air fresheners add appealing aromas to your home, but they could also be interfering with your indoor air quality. Candles produce combustible fumes that contain carcinogens, compounds that irritate the respiratory system. Chemical propellants found in air fresheners can hang in the air for hours after you spray them, causing you to breathe in their toxic fumes that saturate the lungs and cause potential damage to tender tissues. If you must have a pleasing aroma in your household, consider cutting up some citrus slices to put in a bowl or boil some cinnamon in water on the stove to create a naturally pleasing scent.
Add Some Greenery
The addition of some cleansing houseplants can do wonders for improving indoor air quality. Plants have an amazing ability to transmute potentially toxic substances into fresh, clean oxygen that is released into the air as part of their natural growth. Add some lush greenery to your living spaces and see if you can feel and smell the difference in your home.
Change Your Air Filter
Your HVAC system has an air filter for a reason; its job is to remove dust, dirt, and debris from the air that circulates throughout your home and allow fresher air to circulate. Over time, an air filter will become dirty and saturated, and it will no longer perform the important work of helping to clean your indoor air. Clean and change your furnace air filter frequently to optimize HVAC system function and provide you with fresher, cleaner air.
Mind That HVAC System
Just as your air filter can become saturated with dirt and debris, your HVAC system can get bogged down with extra sludge that will eventually make its way through your ductwork and into each room of your home. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your central unit, as well as committing to regular maintenance and cleaning schedule of your ductwork, will keep your system optimized and provide you with better quality air with every service call.
We’re Ready When You Are!
Reliable Ducts is proudly serving valued customers across North Florida and beyond. We provide valuable services such as HVAC repair, replacement, air quality assessment, ductwork cleaning, ongoing maintenance plans, and all residential heating and cooling services. Let us provide you with an expert assessment of your indoor air quality and make suggestions to clean up your home, one step at a time. Contact Reliable Ducts Heating and Cooling today to set up your appointment with one of our top-notch service professionals; we’re ready to serve you!