Let’s look into a typical home in order to see some of the more important ways to protect its’ indoor air quality (IAQ) while also looking at how to address some of the more common indoor air pollutants.
IAQ In The Living Room
One of the more frequented rooms in a home is the living room and it can be a place where indoor pollutants thrive. In order to protect a living room’s indoor air quality, it’s always important to ventilate, vacuum, and also dust. For starters and as much as we love our pets, it may be best to keep them off upholstered furniture and the carpet. No matter how clean the home may be, dust particles, pet dander (e.g. dried skin flakes), and pollen can continuously float in the room’s air. And for many, they can trigger asthma attacks or allergy issues. Secondhand smoke is another area of concern, maybe from cigars or cigarettes, when it comes to indoor air quality. Secondhand smoke can trigger asthma or other respiratory illnesses for many, including children. Simply put, don’t smoke inside the home! And then carbon monoxide can also be a problem, especially when a living room has a fireplace. With a fireplace, it’s important to be sure the flue is open when in use, and a homeowner must also be sure to check that the chimney is properly sealed. So if indoor air quality is a concern be sure to ventilate, vacuum, clean the living room carpets and the furniture regularly!
IAQ In The Bedroom
Bedrooms often have lots of things that can easily collect dust. Dust (mites) can accumulate in or on upholstered furniture, carpets, stuffed animal toys, pillows, and blankets. For some people, dust can trigger allergies and/or asthma attacks so it is important to be in the habit of cleaning the various fabrics in a bedroom. Also dust and wash bedding, vacuum regularly and consider having allergen-proof mattresses and pillows.
IAQ In The Basement
A typical basement can be a source of air leaks and moisture in the average home. It may even be a place that contains chemicals. In a basement, it is so important to properly store chemicals, to seal any walls, floors, or foundation cracks, and to ventilate. Even when stored properly, paints, resins, and chemicals will release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) so ventilation is a must. Carbon Monoxide is a potential issue that can come from appliances such as an air conditioning unit, combustion, or a gasoline-powered heater. So these must be installed properly, including with detection devices. Basements are often damp, so a properly sized dehumidifier will help to keep it at an appropriate humidity level and reduce the chance of any mold formation. Also, dry water-damaged areas in under 48 hours to prevent any mold growth. Radon is another concern and a leading cause of lung cancer. It can enter a basement through cracks in floors or walls that are in contact with the ground. Testing for Radon is simple, it is also the only way to know if it exists in the home. If a test shows that Radon is high, a qualified radon professional can easily install a mitigation system.
IAQ In The Bathroom
The bathroom is probably the dampest room in a home and, as a result, a common source of mold. The humidity from a shower can bring a lot of moisture, which will lead to mold growth. For some mold can be responsible for an allergic reaction, asthma, and some other respiratory issues. Just like any other room, it is important to ventilate a bathroom. Installing a ventilation fan will work to combat moisture and lessen any potential mold growth. Equally important when surfaces in a bathroom become damp, is a concerted effort to dry them off.
IAQ In The Kitchen
The kitchen will have appliances that can leak gas. It’s likely to store chemicals for cleaning up or for the removal of pests. It is so important to properly maintain and ventilate appliances, and to store all chemicals safely. When there are pesticides for rodents, termites, and insect removal they can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, or throat. Worse, for some, they can damage the central nervous system or kidneys and they also increase the risk of cancer. Common household cleaners, often stored under the kitchen sink, can release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Store these products based upon manufacturer instruction and keep them away from pets & children. And finally, to prevent carbon monoxide exposure, be sure gas ovens are vented to the outside and that all appliances are properly installed, and maintained.
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