Improving air quality in your home
When the heat of summer becomes too much to bear, it’s often more comfortable to shut the windows and turn on the air-conditioning to get some blissful relief from the oppressive heat and humidity. However shutting your windows may create a problem: an elevated concentration of both allergens and pollutants in your home. Mold and mildew, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, viruses, tobacco smoke, VOCs (found in cleaning and laundry products, air fresheners, and beauty products), carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are all common household pollutants that can affect indoor air quality.1
Intolerable heat may leave you with no choice but to keep the air conditioning on, so what can you do to improve the air quality in your home when you don’t have fresh air coming in through your windows? Check out these 10 suggestions from Achoo Allergy for improving your indoor air quality.
- Have your heating and air conditioning systems regularly cleaned and maintained, and clean or replace your furnace filters regularly.
- Whenever possible, remove the sources of pollution. Dust and vacuum regularly, have gas appliances checked for emissions, and regularly clean and air out any mold-prone areas like bathrooms, kitchens and basements.
- Purchase a life-saving carbon monoxide detector. This useful tool alerts you if deadly levels of carbon monoxide are building up in your home.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products, especially when the windows are shut and those dangerous fumes have no way to escape.
- To keep dust mites at bay, wash your bedding once a week in hot water and cover your mattresses and pillows with dust mite barriers.
- Save home improvement projects for cooler months when you can keep the windows open after painting or installing new carpet or paneling, etc. If you’re buying new furniture for your home, let it air out in a well-ventilated space for a few days before moving it into the house.
- Let clothing or household items that you’ve had dry-cleaned hang in your garage or on your patio for a while before bringing them inside. Products used in dry cleaning emit chemicals like formaldehyde from dry cleaned fabrics.
- Check to see if you have any ventilation problems in your home. Condensation on walls or windows, stuffy air, moldy areas and odors are an indication of poor ventilation.
- Add pet-friendly, non-toxic plants to your home. Plants are natural air purifiers, but be aware that mold often grows around plants, particularly if they’re watered often.
- Consider purchasing an air purifier to help clean the air in your home.
Obviously the best way to keep your house fresh is to open up the windows and allow air into your home, but keeping things clean and being aware of the products you’re using in your home can help to improve your indoor air quality—whether your windows are open or not!
For more information on indoor air pollution and how to keep your family safe and healthy, visit United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission.
411948G CAN/US (07/15)