How is the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your Wilmington, North Carolina, home? Most indoor air pollution is invisible. However, its effects are very real. Poor indoor air quality can cause frequent headaches, nausea, fatigue, sniffling, sneezing, shortness of breath and dizziness. It can aggravate existing respiratory conditions like COPD and asthma. It can make allergies even worse. The good news is that you don’t have to live with poor IAQ. Here are eight easy ways to clean up your indoor air:
1. Keep Your Floors Clean
Counteract the pet dander with frequent vacuuming and mopping. Vacuums with a HEPA filter are best and can reduce pollen and dust mites as well. Mopping with plain water afterward will remove any lingering dust, dander and dirt.
2. Balance Indoor Humidity Levels
Homes with high humidity are especially prone to poor IAQ. Drippy faucets and leaky pipes are dust mite magnets. Viruses and bacteria, especially those that cause respiratory infections, flourish in moist environments. A hygrometer is an inexpensive gadget that measures indoor relative humidity. Readings from 30 to 50 percent are considered ideal and are best for controlling indoor air pollution.
3. Avoid Artificially Scented Products
Synthetic fragrances commonly used in air fresheners and laundry products can contain 20 or more different kinds of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Some VOCs are even classified as toxic or hazardous, but the product manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients. Only the word “fragrance” must be listed.
4. Schedule HVAC Maintenance Every Year
HVAC equipment can pollute indoor air if it’s not cleaned and serviced annually. Clogs in the condensate drain line can create bacterial slime in the condensate drain pan. Ductwork can also become infested with contaminants that blow into your home when your HVAC cycles on. Have your HVAC serviced annually. Ducts should be inspected every few years and cleaned as needed.
5. Change HVAC Filters Regularly
HVAC filters trap particles, pet hair and other airborne contaminants before they can get inside the system. Clogged filters can negatively impact IAQ. All of the air in your home travels through that dirty filter over and over every day. Operating your HVAC with a clogged filter is one of the worst things you can do for IAQ. This is especially true if someone in your family has a breathing disorder. If you have pets, brush them daily to reduce dander and pet hair. That helps to decrease the load on your filter.
6. Use Beeswax Candles to Clean Indoor Air
When beeswax candles burn, they release negative ions. Indoor air contaminants have a positive charge. When beeswax candles are burning and releasing negative ions, the positively charged ions of the contaminants get sucked into the candles or are removed from suspension. These candles behave like air purifiers. They’re all natural, and they smell good, too.
7. Salt Lamps Can Help with Asthma
Himalayan salt lamps are large chunks of Himalayan salt with a small bulb inside. Like beeswax candles, they emit negative ions while burning to improve indoor air quality. People with respiratory conditions have reported that salt lamps ease their symptoms.
8. Install an Air Cleaning System
Insufficient ventilation is responsible for many IAQ problems. A whole-house ventilator can bring in fresh air while removing stuffy and polluted air. UV lights installed in your ductwork can kill contaminants like viruses and bacteria. HEPA filters remove dust, bacteria, dander, pollen and mites. HEPA filters do not, however, remove gasses, fumes, smoke or odors. Charcoal/carbon filters remove smoke, fumes, odors and gases but not dust or allergens. Use HEPA filters with a charcoal or carbon filter for best results.
If you’re concerned about IAQ, have your air tested by an indoor air quality contractor like Airmax Heating & Cooling. Call us today to learn more.