As a homeowner, maintaining a safe and comfortable home environment should always be one of your top priorities. One of the most important ways you can do that is by making sure the indoor air in your home is breathable and free of harmful toxins, chemicals, and allergens. The potential negative impact of poor indoor air quality and the presence of common pollutants can be serious, and they can cause health issues ranging from headaches, dizziness and nausea to putting you at risk for respiratory diseases like asthma and lung cancer. If you want to improve the quality of your indoor air and protect yourself and your family, read on for four tips on how to keep contaminants out of your home.
1. Change the filter on your HVAC system.
There are more contaminants inside a building than outside, so it’s essential that your HVAC system has a clean filter to keep the air in your home healthy and clean. Your HVAC’s filter is an important part of making sure dust, mold, pollen, and other common contaminants don’t overwhelm your home, creating a nightmare situation, especially for allergy sufferers. Indoor air pollution can also have much more serious side effects, and allowing pollutants to remain present in your home is dangerous both for your health and for protecting the structure of your property.
2. Make your home smoke-free.
Secondhand smoke from cigarettes is a major driver of pollutants in the home. Secondhand smoke tends to linger in fabric and carpets, so it can be difficult to remove the unpleasant odor, even if you’re thorough in your cleaning. More importantly, cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals that put you at higher risk for everything from respiratory infections, asthma, breathing problems, and even certain types of cancer.
3. Inspect your windows and doors.
Cracks and crevices in your windows and doors can let in allergens, pollutants, and moisture that can cause health issues and property damage. You should inspect all outdoor-facing windows and doors at least once annually, and make sure that any gaps are caulked or weatherstripped as soon as possible. Gaps facing outdoors also allow in hot and cold drafts, which can increase the amount of energy it takes your HVAC system to regulate the temperature in your home, which can cause your energy bills to skyrocket.
4. Test for radon and other harmful chemicals.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, and radioactive gas that is produced by decaying uranium in soil. It can be found in older homes and newer homes, and it can also be present in granite countertops, though not in significant enough amounts to cause illness. It often sneaks into the home by getting through cracks in the foundation of your home. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, so it’s essential for you to make sure your home doesn’t have abnormally high radon levels.
While the negative impacts contaminants can have on both your comfort and your health can be serious, there are a variety of simple steps you can take to maintain high-quality indoor air in your home. Many of them, like radon testing, weatherstripping, and eliminating smoking in your home, are low-cost or even free. The cost of maintaining home systems like your HVAC are a smart investment, and an HVAC system operating at peak efficiency can save you money over time when it comes to reducing your energy bills. If you want to avoid putting your family at unnecessary risk for health problems and ensure your home is always safe to live in, you should make a point of reducing or eliminating the contaminants in your home.