While most new homes are built to be airtight for more efficiency in heating and cooling, poor indoor air quality can be a side effect. Our weather – cold winters, hot summers – means we have to keep windows and doors closed throughout most of the year. As such, typical pollutants like dust, dust mites, mold, mildew, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and pet dander can build up and cause problems. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality, and some of them are actually quite simple.
Here are five ways to achieve better air:
Buy products with the lowest chemical emissions. Among those that typically emit VOCs are cleaning products, paint, pressed wood furniture, carpets, drapes and upholstered products.
Install a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter in your vacuum. Vacuum your home regularly to get rid of dust and other small particulate matter that can aggravate allergies and respiratory problems.
Change the air filter in your HVAC system regularly. You’ll not only improve the quality of your indoor air, but you’ll also keep your furnace or air conditioner from having to work harder with a clogged filter. Be sure to use a quality pleated air filter, from MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 5 to 8.
Use an air cleaner or purifier. These come in many types and are available as whole-house or portable models. The latter must be moved around from room to room. Whole-house models are more expensive, but do a better job at cleaning indoor air.
Launder your linens. Launder bed and bathroom linens, towels and drapes frequently in hot (54 degrees Celsius) water to get rid of dust mites.
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