How To Improve Indoor Air Quality Naturally
Many homeowners in York, ON, are shocked to discover that the air in their homes is two to five times more polluted than the outdoor air. This dismaying revelation often inspires action. When you’re ready to improve the quality of your home’s air, use these five tips. They’re all affordable and highly effective at reducing the pollutants that circulate in your home.
1. Control the Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
The best way to naturally improve your home’s indoor air quality is to control the sources of pollution that get into your home. For example, many dry cleaners use volatile organic compounds in their cleaning processes. The cleaned clothes may off-gas formaldehyde and other chemicals. You can choose dry cleaners that use a different process, or you can allow the clothes to air out for a day or two before bringing them into your home.
When possible, choose products with no volatile organic compounds. There are also paints available with these formulations. When purchasing plastic items, upholstery and home furnishings, choose used if you can. If used isn’t an option, allow these items to off-gas outside for a while before bringing them into your house.
2. Use Exhaust Fans When Bathing, Cooking and Cleaning
When you cook, tiny aerosol droplets of oils and chemicals that cause odours are released into your home’s air. Use your kitchen’s exhaust fan to ventilate those particles to the outdoors. When showering or bathing, turn on the bathroom exhaust fan to disperse the humidity from the hot water. It’s also important to do this when cleaning. Even natural cleaners, such as ammonia and bleach, release gases that can overcome you. The exhaust fans ventilate the fumes out of your home.
3. Install a Dehumidifier
Many homes get too humid, especially during the summer months. Crawlspaces and basements are notorious for retaining too much humidity. Excess humidity causes mould to proliferate. As mould grows, it releases spores. Many people have allergic reactions to these spores.
Mould exposure can also trigger asthma and other breathing disorders. If the relative humidity in your home is higher than 50%, you need a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier condenses the moisture and drains it into your wastewater system. Be sure to change the dehumidifier’s filter on a regular basis.
4. Upgrade Your HVAC Filters
Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has at least one filter. If your home’s indoor air quality isn’t good, consider upgrading to a better filter. HVAC filters use the minimum efficiency reported value (MERV) rating system. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. The higher the MERV rating, the more tiny particles the filter traps. For households where everyone is healthy, aim for a MERV rating of 13 or higher. If anyone in your home has a fragile immune system, suffers from asthma or another breathing disorder, or is a baby or elderly, consider a higher MERV rating.
It’s also important to check the filter once each month. Set a reminder on your phone or in your digital calendar so that you don’t forget. If the filter is visibly dirty after one month of use, remove and replace it. Never go longer than three months between air filter changes. Also, consider using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Vacuuming upholstery, drapes and carpeting every day will remove any particles from your home’s air.
5. Increase the Rate of Ventilation
Bringing fresh, filtered air into your home to displace the stale, polluted air will improve your home’s indoor air quality. A faster rate of airflow or air exchange usually requires an active ventilation system. There are several ways to accomplish this. In the wintertime, using an energy or heat recovery ventilator is an energy-efficient way to replace old air without increasing your home’s energy use. A whole-house fan is another good option. It has an air intake vent that filters the outdoor air, and it uses your attic’s vents to disperse the stale indoor air.
At Comfort Masters Ltd., we’re thrilled to be the trusted provider of top-notch indoor air quality solutions in York and the surrounding area. Homeowners also turn to us for gas fireplaces, tankless water heaters and maintenance plans. Our heating and air conditioning tune-up, repair, replacement and installation services were designed with your health, comfort and budget in mind. To learn more about natural ways to improve your home’s air quality, get in touch with us at Comfort Masters Ltd. today.