What is Indoor Air Quality?
In all of our attempts to create a green household, many forget to pay attention to indoor air quality. This topic is getting a lot more attention lately, and we’re learning how important it is to observe the level of indoor pollutants to keep your home, and your family, healthy.
Everyone knows about the negative impact of breathing in pollutants found outside, and the same can be true of those that occur inside. Indoors, the primary cause of pollution comes from gases or particles released into the air. Unless you’re living as a recluse away from society, encountering outdoor pollution is just a part of everyday living, especially when you live so close to a major city. The good news about indoor air pollution is that it’s something you can avoid in your own home.
As environmentally conscious builders learn more about sustainable living, more and more houses are being built with indoor air quality in mind. This doesn’t mean that you have to go buy a new house; there are a number of steps you can take to make sure your home’s indoor air quality is at a safe level.
First of all, make sure your home is properly ventilated. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor pollutants outside. If you have a fireplace, check your flue damper regularly. Fireplaces and chimneys are a major source of carbon monoxide in the home. Don’t ever light a fire without opening the flue damper! Otherwise, the smoke will end up inside. If you find that your home isn’t properly ventilated or that your chimney needs some work, Castino Painting can help perform the necessary renovations.
If you are still a smoker in this day and age, do not smoke inside! Respect others by smoking outside, as second-hand smoke is another major pollutant, and can hang around long after the cigarette is extinguished.
The kitchen has a lot of potential to pollute your indoor air. Pay attention to your appliances and keep them properly maintained. If you just bought new appliances, make sure they are installed properly. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pay someone else to do the installation. The cabinet under the sink is a great place to store cleaning products, but did you know that they can release volatile organic compounds (VOC) if not stored properly? Read the labels and store each one properly.
It’s not fun to think about, but dust mites are everywhere. These mites can trigger allergy attacks and reduce the air quality in your home. If you dust and vacuum regularly, you can deplete the dust mite population in your home. Castino Painting can also give your carpets a fresh clean and eliminate anything that might be hiding in the fibers.
The basement is another serious culprit when it comes to indoor air quality. Basements can be damp, making it an attractive place for mold. Try using a dehumidifier to battle the evil mold.
Another serious element to look out for is radon, one of the leading causes for cancer among non-smokers. Have your home tested for radon immediately if you haven’t already done so. If you discover radon in your home, there are a number of services in the North Shore that can install a radon mitigation system.
For more information on how to improve the air quality of your home, visit the EPA website and get a tour of how to improve every room in your house. (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/IAQhouse_working.html)
By Zipporah Porton