Here's a fact that will stick in your throat: Phoenix sits proudly at position five of the most polluted cities in the U.S. And when the outside air quality feels like you're breathing in someone else's morning breath, the sanctuary of 'clean' indoor air is a relief we all crave.
Yet, recent studies have unveiled an unsettling truth: our indoor air often teems with its own cocktail of pollutants. From innocent-looking dust bunnies to the chemical aftermath of last weekend's cleaning spree, these elements make for a pretty poor indoor environment.
Knowing how to improve indoor air quality is critical; it's a path to a higher quality of life. It's about ensuring our family's health and transforming our home from a silent pollutant party into a haven of freshness. So, how do we show the door to these invisible intruders?
While outdoor air pollution is a major problem, The Environmental Protection Agency shows that most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors. That's right, but while we're there, we're hosting unwanted guests like dust mites, pet dander, and the occasional blast of carbon monoxide.
But why does this matter? Indoor air pollution is the likely (undiagnosed) cause of many discomforts, including:
Eye and nose irritation
Itchy skin and rashes
Sinus and nasal congestion
They may bring on fatigue, even after a good night's sleep, cause headaches out of the blue, and could be the reason behind random nausea.
Indoor air quality is influenced by many factors, some of which are overlooked. Let's unmask these common culprits:
Pet Dander: More Than Just Fido's Fluff
Pets sprinkle a little joy everywhere they go and, unknowingly, a bit of dander too. Dander is made up of tiny flecks of skin shed by our companions, be they cats, dogs, rodents, or birds. While pet dander is harmless, it throws a curveball for the more sensitive souls.
When pet dander enters our respiratory system, it can trigger a carnival of allergic reactions. These range from sneezing, hives, and watery eyes and nose to more severe responses. So, while we adore our four-legged friends, they bring along an entourage that might not sit well with everyone's immune systems.
Keeping a clean, well-ventilated space can help ensure that the joy they bring doesn't come with wheezy strings attached!
Dust Mites: The Unseen Roommates
Dust mites are the ultimate gatecrashers. These microscopic squatters feed on dead skin flakes and thrive in warm, humid environments. While they don't bite, they contribute to allergens in your home.
Their body fragments and droppings (gross, right?) can mingle with dust and become airborne, triggering allergies and asthma.
Cleaning Products: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Here's an irony for you: the very products you use to clean your home might be affecting the quality of your air. Many cleaning agents contain a host of chemicals that, while tough on grime, are equally tough on human health. They can release harmful substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), causing headaches, throat irritation, or even more severe health issues.
VOCs are also found in many other household materials and products, ranging from scented candles to wall paint. Long-term exposure to VOCs can lead to health complications, including liver and kidney damage or central nervous system problems.
We're all about transforming your indoor atmosphere. So, if this matters to you as much as it does to us, here's a breath-by-breath guide.
Embrace the Outdoor Breeze
Cracking open windows and doors, especially during the breezy hours, can work wonders. It's one of the simplest ways to usher pollutants out and welcome fresh air. (Of course, if you live on a busy street, ignore this advice completely!)
Adopt a Green Thumb
Indoor plants are nature's detox warriors. These silent workers do more than beautify spaces; they tirelessly absorb the pollutants in your air, acting like living air purifiers. They clean the air naturally by taking up toxic agents and transforming them into nutrients.
They also release oxygen, improving overall air quality. In this eco-friendly cycle, plants process the unwanted toxins and gift us with a breath of fresh air, quite literally. Plus, they never complain about working overtime!
Dust Mites Be Gone!
These invisible freeloaders love to lurk in the cozy corners of your home. Regular cleaning, particularly in those dust-mite paradises like carpets and curtains, can make a difference.
Effective methods of getting rid of dust mites include:
Regular washing of bedding and towels in hot water
Running your air conditioner regularly
Using air purifiers
When it comes to keeping our homes comfortable and healthy, air-conditioning systems are heroes in disguise. Not only do they keep the space cool during those scorching hot days, but they also play a critical role in maintaining the air quality.
Frontline Defenders in Air Quality
Your AC filters act like gate guardians, capturing tiny particles unseen by the naked eye. Dust, pollen, pet dander, and other pollutants try to sneak into your airflow, but a well-maintained filter stops them in their tracks.
Upgrade for Enhanced Protection
Consider stepping up your game with a HEPA filter to take your air quality to the next level. These high-efficiency variants are pros at trapping the tiniest particles, especially for allergy sufferers or those with respiratory concerns.
Did you know that filters regularly cleaned also help your AC system run more efficiently? When filters are free from excessive dirt, your AC doesn't have to work as hard, saving on energy costs and extending the system's life. It's a win-win!
Moisture Control is Mold Control
While humidity isn't a major problem in Arizona, it's worth noting that mold loves moist environments. By keeping humidity levels in check, you're not just improving air quality but evicting those spore-based squatters.
A dehumidifier can be a valuable ally in damp spaces such as bathrooms. However, your trusty AC will likely be enough to keep the fresh air flowing.
Choose Your Cleaning Arsenal Wisely
Not all cleaning products come in peace. Some bring chemicals that taint your indoor air. It's wise to opt for simpler, natural cleaning supplies that reduce the chemical chatter in your home. And frankly, they do just as good a job keeping things sparkling.
Baking soda as a cleaner and deodorizer
Vinegar as a stain remover and fungicide
Lemon as a grease remover and antibacterial agent
Borax as an effective insecticide
Salt as a natural abrasive
Advanced Air Defense: The Purifier
In the quest for the freshest indoor atmosphere, an air purifier acts as an environmental guardian. They utilize germicidal light waves, forming an army of molecules that go on a disinfecting spree on your home surfaces. These light waves are like the special forces, eradicating stubborn germs, banishing odors, and escorting allergens and excess dust out.
Their advanced filtration systems are a nightmare for harmful contaminants, trapping them in a maze from which there is no return.
Carbon Monoxide: Unseen but Not Unchecked
Imagine a sneaky intruder, undetectable by our senses, lurking in our homes. That's carbon monoxide for you - an elusive gas that doesn't give us the courtesy of a warning scent, taste, or color. It's infamous for causing accidental poisoning.
You may experience headaches, chest pain, or bouts of nausea and vomiting. It can also play tricks on the body, causing weakness, fatigue, and a puzzling combination of dizziness and confusion.
Now, here's the kicker: without the right tools, detecting this silent troublemaker is virtually impossible. This fact makes carbon monoxide detectors absolute must-haves, especially in homes equipped with gas appliances.
At Parker & Sons, we understand that your home is your haven. Our range of services, including HVAC, emergency services, plumbing, electrical, and water solutions, are designed with your comfort in mind. We're committed to ensuring your home remains a safe and comfortable space.
Working out how to improve indoor air quality may feel like a massive undertaking, but with these tips, you're already on your way to making your home a healthier space.
Remember, the seasoned experts at Parker & Sons are just a call away. Breathe easy, knowing we're here to help you every step of the way, with an arsenal of services to keep you and your family safe. Book an indoor air quality assessment today, and let's make your home the breath of fresh air you deserve!