Ways to improve the air quality in your home

During the summer, many of us leave our doors and windows closed to keep the cool, air-conditioned air inside. While this may save energy costs, it also circulates old and stale air throughout your home, which can cause many respiratory problems. Given how much time most people spend indoors, it is important to reduce the amount of air pollutants in your home so you can start breathing clean.

Common reactions to poor indoor air quality include: frequent sneezing or coughing, feeling congested, waking up with a headache, and suffering from irritated nose, eyes, and throat. With prolonged exposure to these irritants, some develop long-term conditions such as asthma or other respiratory infections.

Some of the biggest culprits that diminish the air quality in most homes include:

  1. Smoke that is carried indoors on clothing
  2. Things that burn such as candles, synthetic fragrance oils, and wood
  3. New furniture and carpets
  4. Building materials after major home renovations
  5. Household cleaning products, including air fresheners
  6. Personal products such as hairsprays, spray tan lotions, and fingernail polish
  7. Home furnaces (it is recommended you change your filter every 3-6 months)
  8. House paints

Here are 5 ways you can improve the air quality in your home.

  1. Open your windows

Leaving your windows open for even an hour is one of the best ways to reduce the concentrations of air pollutants in your home. Keeping your windows closed can cause condensation issues as well, which can lead to mould growth. It also causes the toxins and allergens already present in the home to continue growing.Ā  Some of these irritants trapped in the home include mould spores, dust, smoke, bacteria, radon, and not to mention odours.

Radon is a radioactive gas naturally found in the environment. Almost all homes have some levels of radon present but how much can vary from house to house. Radon is produced when uranium in the soil, bedrock, or water begins to decay. Being a gas, it can seep into homes through cracks in the foundation or gaps around pipes. Levels are higher in basements and crawlspaces because they are closer to the source and often poorly ventilated. Opening your windows can greatly reduce the levels of radon in your home.

Just as important, many believe the heating or cooling systems in their homes bring in air from outside. However, most forced air-heating and air-conditioning systems do not bring in cleaner outdoor air into the house mechanically, so it is important to open your windows to let in fresh air and eliminate air pollutants trapped in your home. Newer homes may have the HVAC heating and cooling systems installed, which includes a mechanical feature that brings outdoor air into the house.

Opening your windows during winter or summer months will be a bit energy draining, but the health benefits that come from fresh air far outweigh the energy costs.

  1. Take advantage of the vents in your home

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans remove air pollutants directly from where they are positioned. After cooking meals, consider using the kitchen fan to eliminate fumes from gas stoves. Alternatively, you may open your windows and leave your exhausts on to bring in fresher air and to get rid of contaminants and odours simultaneously.

  1. Add more houseplants

For those that enjoy a little nature inside their homes, adding houseplants can produce clean oxygen and eliminate toxins in the air. Be careful not to over-water the plants as the excessively damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms which could affect people with respiratory sensitivities. If you have pets in your home, ensure the plants are not harmful to them.

  1. Vacuum more often

Vacuuming at least twice a week (or more in homes with pets) can get rid of pet dander and other loose soils from the carpet. Vacuum too fast and you risk not picking up all the dirt trapped in your carpet, so vacuum at a slower speed for a more thorough cleaning.

  1. Get your carpets cleaned professionally

Carpets are like a filter in the home. All kinds of bacteria, allergens and dust get trapped deep in the fibers of the carpet. Sometimes vacuuming alone is not enough for a detailed deep clean. Professional carpet cleaning can greatly improve the air quality in your home with the added bonus of prolonging the life of your carpets.

ChemDry Ottawa offers a revolutionary cleaning through its Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE) process, which is drier, faster, and healthier. An independent air quality laboratory tested this process in multiple homes and found that ChemDry removes an average of 98.1% of common household allergens from carpets and upholstery. The main cleaning solution, The NaturalĀ®, is Green-certified and safe to use around children, pets, and those suffering from asthma. It uses only 15-20% moisture so it is better for the environment and takes less time to dry, greatly reducing the risk for mold and mildew growth.

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