The Importance Of Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining indoor air quality is critical to keeping yourself in good shape. The way to do this is to reduce or eliminate allergens and other contaminants.

"We take about 20,000 breaths each day and spend 90% of our time indoors. Now that we are in a global pandemic from the new coronavirus (COVID-19) with stay-at-home orders, this rate of staying indoors has increased. Reducing exposure to substances in the environment around us that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms is important. Eliminating these indoor triggers is a great place to start.” – Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Indoor Air Quality Reality 

If the air you breathe has gasses or particles that aren’t supposed to be there, it is called air pollution. Air pollution is a much bigger problem when it is indoors. When you open a door or window, you bring the outdoor air inside. This air can contain dust, pollen, and smoke. Even if you don’t open your windows, contaminates can sneak in around windows and doors. 

Some things are created indoors, like dust, pet dander, and mold. If you allow humidity to build, it can compound the problem. If you have a fireplace, or if you smoke or use candles, these can also introduce particles and gas that are not good for you. New construction, cooking, and moving things around creates dust and gasses that need to be treated. 

Sometimes the problem is that indoor air isn’t exchanged, and the pollutants become concentrated. This air needs to be exchanged with clean, outdoor air. If you don’t exhaust the indoor air, allergens, gasses, and pollutants stay in your house and build up over time. This is especially true for newer homes that are usually built “tighter at the seams.” 

Here are some things I suggest you can (and should) do to tackle the issue of indoor air pollution: 

  • Have regular routines for cleaning your home. 
  • Keep your home dry by measuring the air humidity and using a dehumidifier when needed. Healthy air has less than 50% humidity.  
  • During peak pollen times, when there is dust in the air, or any other time when there is high air pollution outdoors, keep your windows closed. 
  • Use an indoor air quality system to shield the air against bacteria and remove any harmful pollutants.  

Bedroom - Pay extra attention to your bedroom. It’s where you spend 1/3 of your life. 

  • The number one place to start is your bed. It is what you sleep in and can be a haven for dust as well as other nasty allergens. 
  • Swap out your pillows every two years at most and get allergen-proof zippered protectors. 
  • Your box springs and mattress are essentially a huge sponge, and you should vacuum them regularly. Furthermore, cover them with correctly sized allergen blocking covers. You should replace your mattresses every 10 years. 
  • When you wash your bedding, use the hot water cycle, and run the dryer on the hot setting. Many people prefer to “send out” this task to a commercial laundry. 
  • Pets - This will be a tough one for many people, but don’t let your dogs or cats on the bed.  

Bathroom – Because they are often warm and wet, bathrooms are an ideal area for mold to grow. 

  • Keep the bathroom dry by running the fan for at least 30 minutes after showering. 
  • Be sure to spread out your towels in an area they can dry after using them. 
  • Make sure there is no standing water by fixing leaks around sinks, showers, and toilets. 
  • Clean and disinfect areas where mold can grow – especially in dark areas. 
  • Replace or disinfect shower curtains that have mildew or mouldiness. 
  • Make sure the exhaust fan is clean and dust-free so it can quickly evacuate the moist air. 

Living Room – The living room is usually the center of activity in a home. Because of that, it is a place where many undesirable pollutants are introduced. 

  • Dust mites and other pollutants cling to fabric. Try to reduce the amount of fabric in and around the living room. 
  • Throw pillows may look good but can be a haven for dust and other irritants. 
  • Replace curtains with solid blinds. If you really like those curtains, wash them every 90 days. Many people also prefer using a commercial laundry for this task too. 

The Kitchen – The kitchen is the biggest offender when it comes to indoor air pollution. There you have water, cooking smoke and grease, food waste, and sometimes insects. 

  • Repair all leaks and areas that collect splashed water. Most irritants and pests only thrive where there is water. 
  • Mold is a nasty irritant. Clean and disinfect under counters, inside cabinets, and any other out-of-the-way places where mold might be growing. 
  • When working with vegetables and other produce, always wash it and put it in the refrigerator when storing it. Discard produce that has mold and clean the area that it touched. 
  • Make sure that there is no standing water, puddles, or food left out overnight. This is exactly what cockroaches and other bugs live to find. 
  • Get into the habit of washing dishes, pots, and pans soon after you are done with them. Don’t let them wait overnight. 

It’s more important now than ever to keep your air and surrounding area clean and allergy friendly. One of the easiest and incredibly effective things you can do is to get an indoor air quality system and begin purifying the air you breathe at home on a daily basis. 

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