Nothing is more important than the air that we breathe; however, many Phoenix area homeowners tend to keep their indoor air quality as an afterthought. As the weather becomes more brisk, so does your risk for indoor pollution sources and air contaminants. During the fall and winter months, indoor air quality can be worse due to reduced ventilation as people tend to keep windows and doors closed to keep the heat in. This can lead to a buildup of pollutants and allergens inside the home, putting you and your family’s health at risk. We are going to review some tips for better indoor air quality, so you can be sure you are breathing easy in your home.
Give me a refresher. What is indoor air quality?
The EPA says, “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.”
If you need even more of a reminder as to what could be in your home’s air, what IAQ is, and why this all even matters, you can check out this article we published earlier this year. For now, we are going to focus on what you can do to have better indoor air quality in your Phoenix area home.
How can I improve my home’s indoor air quality?
Improving your home’s indoor air quality is extremely important for your home’s HVAC system and your family. In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors; thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors (EPA).
How can you limit the indoor air pollutants in your home and improve indoor air quality? While it's probably not possible to eliminate all the allergens inside your home, you can reduce the number, and your exposure to them, by taking some simple steps.
- Increase ventilation: Proper ventilation is key to improving IAQ. Open windows and doors when possible to increase air circulation, especially during times when outdoor air quality is good. According to Consumer Reports, by opening a window for as little as 5 minutes a day, regardless of the season, you can improve the air quality of your home by letting out stale air and decreasing the concentration of indoor air pollutants
- Use air purifiers: There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Air purifiers and scrubbers can be effective in removing harmful particles from the air, including dust, pollen, and other allergens. Look for purifiers that use HEPA filters, which can trap very small particles.
- Clean regularly: Regularly cleaning your home can help to reduce the amount of dust and other pollutants in the air. Vacuum carpets and rugs on a regular basis and dust surfaces with a damp cloth to avoid releasing dust back into the air. If you have pets in the home, you should do this much more often to try and decrease the pet dander in the air.
- Use natural cleaning products: Many conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can negatively affect indoor air quality. Instead, try using natural cleaning products, such as vinegar or baking soda, to clean your home. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t store hazardous chemicals in your home (American Lung Association).
- Keep humidity levels in check: High humidity levels can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can negatively affect IAQ. Use a dehumidifier, if necessary, to keep humidity levels in the desired range. According to the EPA, indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60%; ideally between 30% and 50%,
- Change your air filters frequently: A typical manufacturer recommends replacing the air filters in your home every 30 to 90 days; however, this depends on the filter’s lifespan and other environmental factors within the home. We recommend that each air filter should be changed out every 30 days to ensure smooth operating of your HVAC system and better quality indoor air.
- Keep smoking outdoors: Smoking indoors can release harmful chemicals into the air, affecting the health of those around you. Always smoke outdoors to maintain good IAQ.
- Monitor radon levels: Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes and buildings and is a leading cause of lung cancer. Radon gas is inert, colorless and odorless. Test your home for radon and take steps to mitigate levels if necessary. For more information about indoor air quality and the health risk of radon, visit Health Risk of Radon.
Better indoor air quality is an important factor in you and your family’s quality of life. By following the above tips, you can improve indoor air quality and promote a healthier living environment.
To enhance your Phoenix indoor air quality, Arizona Comfort Specialists can help. If you’d like to schedule an indoor air quality inspection for your home in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding Phoenix metro areas, Arizona Comfort Specialists is happy to assist.
You can trust that our team will perform a very detailed and professional inspection to ensure great indoor air quality and performance from your HVAC system. We’ll always respect your time, your home, and your unique needs as we do our utmost to earn your complete satisfaction. Schedule an appointment today.