It’s a common misconception that air pollution only occurs outside. Many people don’t realize that outdoor pollutants can easily enter the home. Plus, many unique contaminants are generated and trapped inside, where building occupants inhale them in high concentrations. Reduce your exposure to household pollutants by following these tips to improve indoor air quality.
- Test for radon: Radon is a colorless, odorless gas emitted by decaying uranium in the soil. Basements present the greatest risk of radon exposure, which is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Affordable home test kits make radon testing easy. If you detect elevated levels, a professional can install a radon mitigation system to safely vent the gas outside.
- Don’t smoke indoors: Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals linked to respiratory problems, asthma, lung cancer and more. Smoking indoors increases exposure to secondhand smoke. The chemicals also cling to the walls and furniture, where they continue to cause adverse health effects. For these reasons, make sure any smoking is done outside.
- Control humidity: Mold and dust mites thrive in humid environments. On the other hand, dry air negatively impacts your airways, skin and hair. To avoid these problems, keep your home between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity at all times. Achieve the proper balance by running a humidifier in the winter and a dehumidifier in the summer.
- Keep your home clean: Every surface can collect dust, dirt, pollen, chemical residue and other debris. To remove these pollutants, remember to sweep, mop, vacuum and dust regularly. Use natural, homemade cleaners when possible, to avoid volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that chemical cleaning products can bring into your home.
- Change the air filter: Make a habit of checking the filter every month and change it when it appears dirty or according to the manufacturer’s directions. The filter catches airborne debris as it circulates through the ductwork and could become overly clogged if you ignore it for too long.
- Conduct crawlspace inspections: The crawlspace beneath your home may seem inconsequential, but it has a significant effect on indoor air quality. Inspect your crawlspace and determine if mold and mildew are present or if rotting wood is causing any structural concerns.
- Encapsulate the crawlspace: Warm air rises inside a building, a phenomenon known as the stack effect. Up to 65 percent of the air on the main floor originates from the crawlspace, so any dampness, mold growth and odors found there are likely to enter the living space. To prevent moisture problems, mold growth, and the infiltration of outdoor pollutants and pests, enclose the crawlspace with a vapor barrier. You may need help from a professional to complete this job.
Take steps to improve indoor air quality today! If you need help with crawlspace mold remediation, flood damage recovery, or other home restoration services, please call DKI at 844-354-2255 or contact us online. We are North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization, and we’re ready to serve you!