With asthma and allergy cases increasing in both children and adults, taking routine steps to improve home air quality is of utmost importance for those prone to such conditions. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to live in a home with great air quality! You can breathe easier, sleep better, remove allergens and foul odors as well as reduce your home’s energy costs. That’s a win for you and your family—five times over. So here’s what you can do.
Control home humidity levels
We often talk about dust mites and mold on the Renewal by Andersen of Sacramento blog—and for good reason. These culprits are notorious for growing at rapid rates when moisture and humidity levels reach 50 percent or higher in your home. To combat this, try to get in the habit of opening your windows when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing. These tasks all dramatically increase the amount of moisture in your home in a short amount of time—and create the perfect environment for mold spores to flourish. If your windows are properly installed and fully functioning, setting aside time to leave them open on days when humidity levels have increased in your home—or when the weather is temperate. Fresh air does so much more than simply freshen up your home!
Use fragrance-free products
Avoid using home cleaning products and laundry detergents that rely on fragrances and “good” smells. While certain conventional fabric softeners, air fresheners and cleaning sprays pack a pleasant scent, many also emit dangerous chemicals that aren’t listed on the label. Due to “trade secrets,” these brands only need to list ‘fragrance” when referring to said chemicals. So to improve home air quality, skip the scented brands and buy fragrance-free or certified “natural” products. And remember to regularly open your windows and doors so that toxins don’t build up in your home should you continue to use fragrant cleaning products.
Aerate your home of smoke and fumes
Arguably the worst offender of poor air quality is tobacco smoke. Considering that cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemicals, which get released into the air as soon as they are lit. In addition, paraffin wax candles (which are petroleum-based) can emit potentially hazardous chemicals when burning, so consider opting to buy scent-free vegetable- or beeswax-based candles instead. Studies show that pure beeswax emissions actually improve home air quality by releasing negative ions into the air in lieu of scent or smoke. They especially help those with asthma or allergies breathe better and are great for removing dust and dander from the air. Finally, if smoke is emitted into your home via cooking, candles or tobacco products, remember to open your windows and doors to aerate before turning on any central air circulation system.
Keep your floors and windowsills clean
Simply put, don’t skimp on vacuuming, sweeping or mopping. With the amount of pollen, allergens, toxins and dander getting tracked through your home on a daily basis, keeping your floors and windowsills clean is a must. Regular cleanings also reduce the dust that can accumulate in your home—and keeps dust from being packed into your floors or window casements. When vacuuming, a HEPA filter is ideal for ensuring that dust and dirt don’t get blown back out into the room in the form of exhaust. And don’t forget, mopping picks up the dust that your vacuum left behind. But the best trick is placing floor mats down at every entry in your home. When regularly cleaned, these mats capture dirt, dust and allergens from the get-go—before they settle into carpet, furniture and window ledges and sneak out of cleaning sight.
Of course, if your windows are failing throughout the year, taking any of these steps to improve home air quality will only get you so far. If you can’t open certain windows to aerate your home, or if certain windows leak in smoky air or pollution, you can’t do much to protect yourself and your family from poor air quality. If you’re questioning the current health of your windows, check out our Events page to see when an informative Q&A session—complete with a complimentary brunch—is headed to your neighborhood or visit www.RbASacramento.com to schedule a free consultation.