The air we breathe has become a hot topic in recent months, for obvious reasons. But in truth, the quality of the air in our homes should always be a hot topic – if you want to stay healthy, that is.
We recently came across two facts in a report from the Environmental Protection Agency that, in combination, really helped us understand why the agency considers indoor air quality to be one of the most important public health issues of our time:
The average American consumes more than 15,000 gallons of air each day.
Indoor levels of pollutants might be as much as 100 times the levels found outdoors.
In our book (and the EPA’s), that’s not a good combination.
The good news is that you can greatly improve the quality of the air inside your home simply by making better choices about what you buy and how you live. Here are seven easy changes you can make to help your family breathe a little easier in your central Maine home.
7 Ways To Help Your Home’s Air Quality
Choose fragrances and cleaners that are less toxic. Many of the cleaners available in today’s big box stores are loaded with harmful chemicals; choose more eco (and human)-friendly options. Better yet, make your own: homemade vinegar and baking soda cleaners will clean or disinfect just about any material or surface. When choosing room fresheners and candles, skip products that use chemical fragrances and opt for essential oils instead.
Choose better building materials. Planning home improvements? Invest a little extra money up front to get mold resistant fiberglass-covered drywall or gypsum board and low-VOC paint for your projects. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can cause respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment. Although these materials cost a little more, they’ll pay off in the long run with better health and no need to redo your handiwork due to a mold problem.
Add more plants. Research by NASA and other groups have shown that certain common houseplants can be quite effective in removing formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethane from the air and replacing it with breathable oxygen. Top choices include Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, English Ivy, Ficus, Gerbera, Golden Pothos, Peace Lily, Philodendron, Pot Mum, and Spider Plants.
Ventilate hobby rooms. Hobbies are wonderful, but they often require you to use some pretty nasty materials. If you plan to do any paint stripping, soldering, gluing, painting, or other toxic activities, make sure your hobby room is well-vented – or better yet, do the work outdoors.
Change HVAC filters regularly. It’s pretty simple: a clogged air filter won’t clean your home air. Check your furnace filters about once a month, cleaning or changing them (depending on the model) when necessary. Be sure to choose the right kind of HVAC filter, too.
Consider adding whole house Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) equipment. If budget allows, install indoor air quality equipment, including whole-house air filters and humidifiers/dehumidifiers that can clean your air, optimize moisture levels, and prevent conditions that can lead to mold and microorganism growth.
Breathe easier with furnace maintenance, indoor air quality installations, and more from the pros at Murray-Heutz Oil and Propane. Contact us to learn more about professional heating service in Androscoggin County today!