Would you believe that the air in your house is most likely more toxic than the air next to the busiest, smoggiest freeway in town? Believe it. Indoor air pollution is one of the most threatening, yet almost entirely unknown, risks to our health in the world today. There is a reason that even residents of the most populous and most heavily polluted cities in the world still feel the need to step out of the house for “fresh air”–the air in many homes is stagnant, stale, and heavily polluted. Don’t let this fact intimidate you. Rather, you should learn from it and improve the air quality in your home.
Evaluating your home air quality can be a tricky matter, as it is very scientific and involves measuring several different factors in the air quality equation, including trace amounts of dangerous chemicals that you would be unable to detect on your own. There are professionals available to provide this service, and some companies even offer a home kit. You can take an air sample at home whenever you like, send it back to the professionals, and have your air quality evaluated accurately and in depth. This would be a good idea for anyone concerned about indoor air pollution.
Once you get your results, you can start taking measures to improve your home’s air. One of the first things to look at is your level of humidity and moisture. Too much moisture in the air can promote mold and mildew, leading to very serious degradation of air quality. Mold gets into the air and into your lungs, often causing respiratory problems. On the other hand, overly dry air can lead to sore throats and dry skin. Humidity the Goldilocks of your home’s air quality–it needs to be just right.
There are chemicals floating through the air in your home that you probably don’t even realize you’re breathing. Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless gas that can cause headaches, nausea, and in extreme cases, death, when breathed into your lungs. It is one of the many dangerous substances found in cigarette smoke. And, it is produced by furnaces, gas stoves, and hot water heaters. Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are also likely to be present in your air. These can be found in insulation, carpeting, paint, adhesives, pesticides, and automotive products. At least a few of those things have surely found their way into your house. These chemicals have serious potential health risks that are often underestimated and ignored.
So how can you improve the air quality in your home? It’s quite simple: filtration and ventilation. Have your home temperature control utilities inspected periodically and make sure their filtration systems are up to par. My online estate agent was particularly happy when I did this, as it makes a home much more attractive to potential buyers. Second, keep the air moving in and out of your home. Open windows and doors to promote good airflow and keep from becoming stagnant. Breathe easier with less indoor air pollution by evaluating your air and improving its quality.