As the effects of indoor air pollution receive more attention from scientific and medical researchers, homeowners are also taking an interest in common sense measures to reduce pollutants inside the house. Since houses today tend to be air-sealed to optimize energy efficiency, the lack of circulating fresh air inside the house permits indoor pollution to soar to high levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that air inside the average residence may be three to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
Ready to clear the air inside your home? Here are a few suggestions to reduce pollutants and create a healthier indoor environment.
- Open a window. It’s a no-brainer, but, simply admitting fresh outdoor air helps dilute the effect of polluted indoor air. When weather permits, open a window on each side of the house to encourage cross-ventilation for 10 to 15 minutes. The best time of day is just after you arise in the morning and just before you go to bed at night.
- Ventilate intelligently. Ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms effectively remove fumes and particulates. However, make sure vent fans are properly sized to the room where they installed, and also that all fans operate on a timer that automatically shuts them off within 15 minutes. Over-ventilation presents air quality issues by de-pressurizing the house and causing toxic fumes from the furnace, water heater and gas stove to be sucked back indoors instead of safely exhausted through vent pipes.
- Lower the humidity. High indoor humidity encourages mold growth. Active mold releases microscopic airborne spores, a known pathogen that accumulates to toxic levels inside enclosed structures. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30% and 50%. If your local climate makes achieving this range difficult, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier.
- Change the filter monthly. A dirty HVAC air filter recirculates dirt and dust in living spaces and serves as a breeding ground for mold spores and bacteria.
For more ways to control pollutants and improve indoor air quality, contact the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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