Our homes should be a safe haven where we can relax and not worry about anything, especially our health. While most of us think that allergens are something foreign, the truth is that many harmful chemicals and pollutants travel through the air and enter our property through our home’s vents. We also bring in far more bacteria and harmful air debris than we realize.
To make your home a more breathable, healthy space, check out these five tips to improve your air quality.
Check Your HVAC Filter
The air filter in your HVAC system isn’t designed to solely improve your air quality, but it can provide valuable assistance. You should have a cleaning and inspection at least once a year. A blocked air vent means dirt, dust, dander and more all flow freely into your home.
You should also check your system’s filter’s MERV rating. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, ranges from 1-16. Many store-bought filters only have a rating 7 or less, which only catches certain types of particles and pollutants. Call a residential HVAC maintenance service to get your system cleaned, inspected and upgrade your MERV rating to help your home’s air quality improve.
Pet dander, dust and dead skin cells are always present in the home. The average person sheds almost a million cells every day. Most of the dust you see lingering on shelves, TVs and furniture is actually dead skin.
In order to improve your air quality, it’s important to thoroughly clean your house. Tidying up and wiping things down on a daily basis can cut back on debris and prevent build-up. If you have carpet, invest in a high quality vacuum with bristles that are capable of reaching deep in between fibers. Use doormats on hardwood floors to collect debris from the outside before you come in.
The more you do to prevent and eliminate dirt, dust, and grime from your home, the easier it will be for the other helpers to improve your indoor air quality.
Check Your Relative Humidity
Optimal air quality ranges from 20 to 50-percent humidity. The relative humidity of your home’s air refers to the percentage of water in the air versus the temperature.
When it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more outside, the ideal relative humidity is 30 to 50-percent. Humidity ranges below 30-percent can cause dust mites to multiply, which is a major trigger for allergens.
You can measure your home’s relative humidity with a digital hygrometer. This weather instrument measures humidity in the air using wet and dry bulbs to check condensation levels and then take the appropriate actions to change and improve your relative humidity with dehumidifiers and humidifiers.
Groom Pets Regularly
Pets don’t need to be bathed as often as people, but they still need routine grooming to cut down on hair and dander, which can add to the amount of gunk in the air and around the house. The level of grooming required will vary among breeds. Check out online guides to help you understand your pet’s coat type and learn how often you should groom it to cut back on shedding and allergens.
Test for Radon
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause massive health issues. Currently, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in America. Most soils naturally produce the radioactive gas, and it moves through homes through cracks in a home’s foundation.
Granite countertops have also been linked to radon; while the level is most likely harmless, it’s important to be aware of the risk. The CDC reports that one out of every 15 homes in the United States has a radon problem. You can buy a radon test kit online or call in a professional from a local company.
As the seasons change, so does the air. Adapting your cleaning habits, humidity levels and maintaining your HVAC system will ensure that your home’s air is always clean, fresh and safe to breathe. If you don’t neglect your home, your indoor air quality can help you and your family stay healthy.