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5 Steps To Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

quality red word up stairs to doorThere’s a popular saying that goes “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”. But when it comes to our breathing air, that isn’t necessarily true, is it? In fact, the opposite is more accurate. If you don’t know what is in your air, you could certainly be hurting yourself. The last thing you want is to be breathing in toxic chemicals and gases. And in the case of such gases as carbon monoxide, there is nothing to see or smell – but it is definitely harmful.

“You may be having a bad air day every day,” writes Denise Mann on WebMD.com, “and we are not talking about outdoor air. The indoor air quality in your home may be affecting your health and the health of your family members.” But how can you tell if the air in your home is either pure or poor? Mann reveals that there are some telltale signs. And unfortunately, they would come by way of already being sick.

“Bad air can trigger coughing, chest tightness, sore throat, watery or itchy eyes, shortness of breath, and even a full-blown asthma attack,” she writes. Have you or anyone in your family been experiencing any of these symptoms? If so, there is definite cause for bettering your indoor air quality. Don’t worry, hope is not lost. There are few things that you can do. Mann shares a number of ways to improve the quality of air in your home. Here are five.

1. Increase ventilation in your house. Keeping the windows open on a regular basis is not necessarily the answer, by the way. Mann points out there are plenty of pollutants in outdoor air as well. Gas emissions from vehicles, industrial pollution as well as dirt and mould can all impact the quality of the air outside. With the help of Dr. E. Neil Schachter, Mann recommends using “trickle ventilation” which involves a “10-inch high screen with extra filters” on your windows.

2. Use your air conditioner. During the summer months, we tend to want to let in fresh air from the outdoors. It’s often a source of cooling off but also a good way to keep our homes ventilated. However, as mentioned, you shouldn’t keep windows open all the time. Mann writes that according to Dr. Schachter, “many pollutants are water-soluble, and as air conditioners remove water from the atmosphere, they remove these pollutants. Air conditioners also remove pollen and particulate matter.”

3. Install a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”. And according to Dr. Schachter, this will make your air conditioner more effective. The HEPA filters are disposable, so once they’ve accumulated enough air quality-reducing particles, feel free to throw them away. “Stand-alone HEPA air cleaners are another option for cleaning the air in a single room,” writes Mann, “If they use a fan to draw in the air, they can be noisy, however.”

4. Ventilate during cooking. If there was ever a time to ensure that your home has proper ventilation, it would be during the times when you are cooking. This is especially true for those who use gas stoves. Dr. Schachter reveals that gas-run stoves emit nitrogen dioxide which can be very irritating to those with respiratory issues. He suggests keeping kitchen windows open or turning on fans to avoid build up of this gas when cooking.

5. Be choosy with your cleaning products. Earlier this week, we blogged about the fact that chemicals in our household cleaning products can contribute to the decline of the air quality in our homes. “Some cleaning products, including those with chlorine and ammonia, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs),” informs Mann, “Some paints, shellacs, and floor polishes may also contain VOCs. The compounds then go into the air as gases.” It’s important to buy products with either low or no VOCs.

At the end of the day, the best possible way to ensure the safety of your indoor air quality is to have the professionals inspect it. For more information on the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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