When we think of air pollution, it is usually in terms of an outside problem and something that we can escape once inside, especially inside our own homes. But that’s not how it works. Certain sources of air pollution, like animal dander and mites, come from us. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce indoor pollution and help everyone breathe a little easier. Here are some strategies to consider.
Keep allergens out of the bedroom
Like humans, dust mites, a common allergen, are quite comfortable in beds. To prevent them from establishing their residence there, Jennie Bergman, Senior Product Manager Indoor Environmental Quality at Trane Residential recommends placing covers on your mattresses, pillows and box springs and washing your bedding in hot water at least once a week. âThe Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends a washing machine water temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, as well as drying bedding on a hot cycle to kill dust mites,â she said . says Lifehacker.
Use controlled ventilation
When sources of indoor air pollutants cannot be completely eliminated, Bergman suggests providing fresh, clean air to the indoor environment while returning stale and polluted air to the outdoors. While opening a window is one way to do this, it also gives outdoor allergens or asthma triggers a way into your home.
If this is a problem in your household, you may want to consider enlisting a little mechanical assistance. “The best way to ensure that fresh air is supplied in the house is to keep windows and doors closed and to use a filtered mechanical fan to bring in fresh air and expel the stale air and polluted to the outside, âsays Bergman.
If you decide to buy a portable air purifier to treat pollen and other indoor allergens, it is important to do your research before making a purchase. For example, Kenneth Mendez, President and CEO of American Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA) tell Lifehacker that some air purifiers on the market have purifying functions that can produce ozone, which itself is an air pollutant and asthma trigger, as a by-product. Units with the ‘certified asthma and allergiesâHave been tested to ensure that they do not produce harmful levels of ozone.
Balance the humidity in your home
Maintaining a humidity level of between 35% and 60% inside your home, according to Bergman, is a key component of indoor air quality.
âMolds, dust mites and other air pollutants tend to thrive outside of this range, and our body’s natural immune system can be weakened when the air gets too dry,â she explains. At the same time you also don’t want air too much damp, as this can cause other problems, such as warping or cracking of furniture and wooden floors.
While it is possible to reduce the humidity in your home by running the air conditioning, this is usually not a year-round solution. “The best way to control humidity in the home is to monitor humidity levels with a reliable HVAC thermostat and help manage it with a whole house dehumidifier and / or humidifier,” Bergman explains.
If you are renting out your home or are unable to install a central HVAC system that monitors and controls humidity, single unit humidifiers and dehumidifiers are a good option.
Stay on top of HVAC maintenance
There are so many things to do to keep a house running, that it is possible for certain tasks, such as cleaning air filters and vents, to fat the edge of the path.
“Homeowners often forget to replace the filter on all of their units with removable filters and clean their HVAC vents, which can include furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, humidifiers or cleaners,” Bergman explains, noting that dirty filters restrict airflow, make your HVAC system work harder and reduce its efficiency.
To keep things running smoothly, she recommends changing air filters every three months and regularly cleaning your HVAC vents.