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Start the New Year with Clean Indoor Air Quality

Start the New Year with Clean Indoor Air Quality

The easiest resolution you can make to be healthier has nothing to do with some sort of fitness routine or diet that -- let’s face it -- you’ll probably quit within the first few weeks of the new year.

We’re talking about improving the air you breathe inside your home, which will improve your health -- no situps required.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Your home may be building up any of the following pollutants:

  • Mold and mildew

  • Asbestos

  • Dust and pollen

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Pet hair and dander

Below are some basic tips for improving a home's indoor air quality. Many of these are DIY projects, while others are better off left to a professional.

1. Regular Cleaning

Some of the pollutants mentioned above can trigger allergies, but regular cleaning will minimize this risk. Vacuuming carpets and rugs once or twice a week is recommended, and ideally, you should use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and these filters have a fine mesh that can capture even the most microscopic pollutants, including cigarette smoke.

2. Use of Green Cleaning Products

The EPA states that the following products often emit a harmful gas called volatile organic compounds:

  • Air fresheners

  • Disinfectants

  • Detergent

  • Dry cleaning chemicals

VOCs can cause eye and throat irritation, allergic skin reactions, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Their inhalation over the long term can lead to liver and kidney damage.

For these reasons, you may want to consider green cleaning products. Generally, these products are organic, non-toxic and better for the environment.

3. Air Filter Replacement

Filters collect dust and pollen, but eventually, they can no longer hold the pollutants and will wind up worsening your indoor air. You can easily replace these filters after you know what material the filters are made of. Non-pleated fiberglass filters are the cheapest but need replacing every 30 days. Pleated fiberglass filters are more effective and last around 90 days.

4. Professional Air Duct Cleaning

Pollutants can be circulated through ductwork an average of five to seven times a day, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. A professional cleaning will eliminate all that build-up in the ducts as well as prevent mold and mildew growth in the future. As a bonus, duct cleaning can help you save on your energy bills by removing obstructions to airflow.

5. Mold Prevention

Mold is a toxic fungus present in the air we breathe, and in exceptionally large quantities, it can cause health problems like itchy eyes, skin rash, and shortness of breath. A mold infestation is possible in an environment where:

  • Condensation is present, and light is absent

  • Temperatures are between 75 and 85 degrees

  • Relative humidity levels are 60% is higher

There are many ways to prevent mold growth. You should ventilate the cooking, shower, and laundry areas when these are in use, and never hesitate to fix water leaks around the roof, windows, and pipes.

A more drastic measure would be to cut down on condensation build-up in the attic and crawl space. You can hire an expert to apply spray foam insulation to these areas.

6. Asbestos Inspections

Exposure to asbestos, a mineral found in building materials like tiling, drywall, paint, and insulation, has been linked to mesothelioma and other severe conditions. The good thing is that asbestos-containing materials won't harm you as long as they are not disturbed by construction or some other activity. Still, if you own an older home, you may want an expert to check for asbestos and assess the risk.

Fairway Heating & Cooling is Tampa’s duct-cleaning experts. To schedule an appointment, call (813) 519-6620.

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