Can the air in your home make you sick? It turns out it can, but luckily there are seven simple steps you can take to improve the air quality and safety in your living space.
Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?
Having fresh, safe air to breathe is essential for our health and wellbeing. Here’s a shocking fact: the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. And here’s why that’s a problem when we start to talk about indoor air safety… the EPA also estimates that the air in the average home contains concentrations that are 2-5 times higher in some pollutants than outdoor air.
So, it’s safe to say if you’re spending most of your day indoors—air quality is of the utmost importance.
Health Symptoms of Indoor Air Pollution
If you’re feeling “off” and can’t pinpoint why, your indoor air quality may be to blame. People with high concentrations of indoor air pollutants will often report health symptoms like tiredness, dizziness, headaches, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, irritated eyes, dry throat, itchy nose, and sore throat.
Be aware of these main culprits of indoor air pollution:
- Carbon Monoxide
- Allergens Like Dust Mites, Pet Dander, and Pollen
- Wood and Tabaco Smoke
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
7 Strategies to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
Now that you are aware of the problems indoor air pollution presents let’s explore some solutions. Try some or all these strategies to help ensure the air you breath is as safe as possible.
1.Check For Mold
It’s been estimated that a staggering 70% of homes have a mold problem, and unfortunately, most household mold colonies cannot be easily spotted with the naked eye. But here’s what you can do for starters—look behind your refrigerator, underneath porous materials like particleboard, cardboard, and paper, below sinks, around windows, in ventilation ducts and fans, and under carpeting for visual signs or smell of mold. The only way to be 100% sure mold isn’t proliferating in your property is by scheduling a professional home inspector to perform a test, but checking for yourself is a good first step.
2.Test For Radon
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas that cannot be identified without professional testing. Several U.P. counties are hot spots for radon. Wondering why radon testing is so important in the Upper Peninsula and if radon is widespread in your area? Check out our blog, Do You Really Need a Radon Inspection in the UP?
3.Get Your Dust On
Regularly dusting the surfaces in your home is probably the cheapest and easiest way to ensure healthy indoor air quality. Don’t forget to frequently wash fabrics like curtains, couch covers, and washable rugs to keep down the dust, dirt, and dander.
4.Get Air-Cleaning Houseplants
Houseplants are all the craze these days, and for good reason! Not only do they brighten up your space, but NASA research also suggests that certain houseplants can actually improve the air quality in your indoor space.
Try greening your space and cleaning your air with the following houseplants:
- Aloe Vera
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
- Boston Fern
- Heart Leaf Philodendron
5.Crack Open Your Windows
There’s nothing more refreshing than finally busting open your windows in the spring. But as we all know, the Upper Peninsula is famous for long winters. We suggest trying to crack your windows for 10-15 minutes a week year-round to freshen up the air in your home and release indoor air pollutants. It may be chilly for a minute, but your lungs will thank you.
6.Change HVAC Air Filters Regularly
Set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to replace air filters in your home’s HVAC system every 6 to 12 months (depending on usage). Regularly replacing filters keeps the air in a home safe and fresh while also improving the system’s performance (which saves money).
7.Invest In an Air Purifier
Though the EPA cites reducing or removing sources of indoor air pollutants and ventilation as the most effective ways to improve your indoor air, emerging research supports the idea that air purifiers are a significant supplemental step you can take to keep your family safe. Read more about air purifiers HERE.
Schedule an Indoor Air Quality Test Today!
Do you suspect you may have a problem with unsafe air in your home? Take these steps right away:
First, if you feel the air quality in your home is negatively affecting your health, start by keeping a journal of your symptoms and when they go away or get worse. When you schedule an appointment to discuss this problem with your primary health care provider, you will come prepared with some solid facts and evidence.
And most importantly, schedule an indoor air quality test with your Marquette home inspector at U.P. Home Inspections LLC right away.