Indoor Air Quality: Is it scary?
If you are suffering from allergies, asthma or just concerned about your overall health there are steps that you can take to improve the air you breathe inside your home. Many of these tips are simple, cost effective ways to improve your air quality and reduce your indoor air quality (IAQ) related health risks.
Control sources of indoor pollutants
Increasing the amount of fresh air that enters your home helps to lower indoor pollutants. As weather permits, open your doors and windows or run your air conditioner with the vent control open. Be sure to exhaust bathroom and kitchen air outside by running your exhaust fan. Turn on fans or open a window to ventilate products which can release pollutants into the air.
Change your HVAC filter
This may sound like a broken record, but changing out your heating and air conditioning filter regularly helps to clean the air circulating within your home, not to mention help with the maintenance of your HVAC unit. Have your system inspected regularly for leaks or cracks.
Learn to monitor and adjust the humidity in your home
Moist humid air can increase indoor pollutants like mold and mildew. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity inside your home. These monitors start at $5 and go up from there. Maintain your humidity between 30 – 50%.
Summer: Reduce the humidity by opening the windows, if it is not humid outside. If it is warm outside, turn on the air conditioner or adjust the humidity setting on the humidifier. Additionally, you can use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from your home.
Winter: During dry times of the year, you may need to add moisture to the air. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to increase the moisture to no more than 50%. Be sure to watch this closely because if you add too much moisture to the air, it could increase mold growth in your home.
October is a great time to test your home for radon. Radon is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The only way to know if radon is a problem in your home is to test. Johnson County K-State Extension has DIY radon kits available in our office that are just $15 each.
Reduce allergy triggers
Reduce allergy triggers and dust mites by switching to moist cleaning methods. Use an inexpensive microfiber cloth that is barely damp to dust furniture and damp mop floors.
Keep everything clean and dry so that mold does not have a chance to start to grow.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is an oderless, colorless, tasteless gas that can kill you within 5 minutes if levels are high enough. Wood, coal, and charcoal fires produce carbon monoxide, as do gas appliances, and gasoline engines like cars and generators.
Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and be sure it is working!
Cigarettes and second-hand smoke
According to the CDC, "no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health. Since 1964, approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke."
Take it outside. People who smoke and vape should do so outside of your home.
October — national indoor air quality month
Take the fright out of indoor air pollution during national indoor air quality month this October. Take action to ensure your indoor air quality is safe for you and your family.