Concerned About Your Indoor Air Quality? A 10-Point Strategy To Clean It Up
Indoor air quality can mean the difference between living healthfully and happily or being miserable and plagued by chronic health issues. Invisible airborne particulates can aggravate existing conditions such as allergies or asthma and create a variety of obstacles to ultimate well-being.
Use this 10-step strategy to help you get started on significantly improving your indoor air quality:
Each room should have an operable window or two to allow for ventilation needs that arise from everyday household tasks and activities such as cooking, cleaning, maintenance and hobbies.
Fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and other heating appliances should be checked to ensure they have properly working vents, tightly sealed doors and outdoor air-intake pathways to allow for the release of potentially harmful buildup of particulate matter.
Protect ductwork and heating and cooling equipment from accumulated dust and dirt by by regularly changing or cleaning any filters.
Make sure central vacuums and clothes dryers are set up to vent directly outside.
Paint, solvents, pesticides and other volatile compounds should be stored safely away from occupied rooms and ventilation intakes.
Water heaters and furnaces that run on fossil fuels should be equipped with sealed combustion or a power-vent system.
Use fans to vent fumes and odors from laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens to the outdoors.
Air conditioners, furnaces and ductwork located in garages can leak contaminants into living spaces. To avoid this, make sure all doors leading to the garage are sealed with weatherstripping. Also take the time to firmly seal all ducts.
Unvented sources of combustion (candles, tobacco products, indoor grills, etc.) should be used judiciously or avoided. If used, open windows to allow fresh air into the interior spaces of your home.
Whole-house ventilation is increasingly popular because it gives homeowners peace of mind when it comes to indoor air quality; professional advice is recommended if you are considering a retrofit of an existing home or thinking of incorporating a whole-house system into new construction.