It’s that time of year again when temperatures cool, and we spend more time indoors. Kids are back in school, and we’re all hunkering down for the long winter ahead. For many of us, this means being in close quarters with family, friends, and colleagues.
While it’s great to be cozied up indoors, it’s essential to be aware of the air quality in your home. Poor indoor air quality can lead to several health problems, including headaches, fatigue, and respiratory problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, making the quality of indoor air one of the most critical factors in our overall health and well-being. EPA also rates indoor air pollution among the top five environmental health risks.
Identifying Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
The first step in improving winter indoor air quality is identifying pollution sources. Familiar sources of indoor air pollution include:
- Combustion sources like gas stoves, fireplaces, and tobacco products
- Building materials and furnishings like asbestos-containing insulation, formaldehyde-emitting particle board, and upholstered furniture
- Household products like cleaning supplies, paint, and pesticides
- Biological contaminants like mold, dust mites, and pet dander
Reducing or Eliminating Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Once you’ve identified sources of indoor air pollution, you can take steps to reduce or eliminate them. Here are some standard solutions:
Proper ventilation is key to reducing indoor air pollution. Ensure your home or office has adequate ventilation and open windows and doors when the weather permits.
Air filters remove many airborne contaminants that cause health problems. Choose a filter appropriate for the size of your space and the pollution level you want to remove.
Clean Air Filters
One of the most important things to improving indoor air quality is regularly cleaning or replacing your home’s air filters. Dirty filters can significantly reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, and they can circulate dirt, dust, and other contaminants through your home or office. If you have a disposable filter, replace it with a new one every 1-3 months or as needed.
If you use gas-burning appliances, they must be properly vented to the outdoors. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home, and never leave a fire burning in a fireplace unattended.
If you smoke tobacco products, do so outdoors. Cigarette smoke is a significant source of indoor air pollution and harms smokers and nonsmokers.
Keep your home or office clean and free of clutter to reduce the biological contamination risk. Dust, vacuum regularly, and wash bedding and curtains in hot water weekly.
If you have pets, groom them regularly and keep them out of bedrooms and other rooms where people spend a lot of time.
Get Indoor Plants
Indoor plants help improve indoor air quality by removing contaminants from the air. Choose appropriate plants for your space, and keep them healthy by watering and fertilizing them regularly. Some of the best plants for improving indoor air quality include
- Bamboo palm
- Chinese evergreen
- English ivy
- Gerbera daisy
- Peace lily
We usually enjoy the warmth of indoor spaces, but they harbor harmful airborne contaminants. We can improve the quality of the air we breathe every day by identifying and reducing sources of indoor air pollution.
If you have any questions about improving indoor air quality or if you want to schedule an appointment for a service, please contact Sharon’s Heating and Air Conditioning today at (734) 425-1415. We provide quality heating and cooling services so that you can enjoy comfortable indoor air all year long.