Most people aren’t aware of the dangers hidden in the indoor air they breathe. Indoor air can contain invisible contaminants — particles and moisture that have harmful effects on your health. It has been suggested these airborne contaminants can impair memory function, and raise the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Nearly all airborne threats originate from one of four sources: biological contaminants, particulates and allergens, household chemicals and air condition. It’s important to rid your home of these pollutants as much as possible. But before you can do that, you need to have a clear understanding of where these pollutants originate and how they operate.
Biological Contaminants are types of organic particles transmitted by people and pets. These include microorganisms such as bacteria, mold, mildew, viruses and dust mites. Biological contaminants breed where there is moisture or food is stored. They frequently trigger allergic reactions and chronic health issues, not to mention unpleasant odors.
Household Chemicals and Fumes
Fumes from household products produce invisible gaseous pollutants and harmful vapors in the air. Cleansers, adhesives, air fresheners, varnish, paint, new carpet, varnished hardwood flooring, solvents and gasoline can all emit toxic fumes. The harmful vapors are composed of chemicals which can cause eye, throat, and lung irritation, and pose an increased risk to children, the elderly and those who suffer from respiratory issues.
Particulates and Allergens
Particulate matter and airborne allergens are some of the worst threats to air quality. They are microscopic particles that develop in nature and include pet dander, pollen, dust and insect parts. Their microscopic size makes them invisible and easily inhaled or ingested through regular breathing. They can aggravate asthma and induce sneezing, coughing and hives, and lead to more serious health problems if left unchecked.
Proper regulation of humidity and stale air impacts the functionality and comfortability of home environments. Low humidity produces dry air. Dry air increases levels of dust in the air and can cause itchy skin, breathing difficulties and nose bleeds, and may increase your risk of contracting respiratory viruses. High humidity produces too much moisture in the air. Humid environments feel sticky and heavy. Moist air encourages mold, mildew and bacterial growth.
You can dramatically improve your home’s air quality in just four simple steps:
1. Regular Cleaning
Clean and vacuum your home and wash bed linens at least once a week to prevent airborne particles and contaminants from settling in your carpet, drapes, furniture and bedding. A sturdy welcome mat outside your home entrances, and requiring family and friends to remove their shoes upon coming indoors, can drastically reduce the amount of dirt, dust and germs dragged into your home.
2. Use Low Chemical and Organic Products
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemical compounds responsible for dangerous vapors and fumes in household products. Products labeled low or no VOC will minimize pollutants. Products containing artificial fragrances produce unhealthy amounts of VOCs. Purchasing and using fragrance free household products can reduce the amount of harmful chemicals and fumes.
3. Air Purification
The best way to kill organic particles and contaminants is through the use of an air purification system. These systems are the only product available that safely removes all three classes of contaminants, including the harshest VOCs.
4. Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
A humidifier or dehumidifier is a simple and low maintenance solution for environments needing additional air conditioning. They can work with your home’s HVAC system to control humidity and keep air properly conditioned.