Your home is supposed to be a safe haven for family, friends and even pets. However, there may be things in your home that can actually change indoor air quality and cause such symptoms as respiratory illnesses, sneezing, runny nose and eyes, mental and physical fatigue and skin irritation. A simple check of your home can help you identify and offset any hazards that may be affecting you.
Clean indoor air boils down to keeping two kinds of hazards out of your air: chemical and biological pollutants.
- Chemicals can include gases such as carbon monoxide, or particles such as soot or aerosol.
- Biological elements come from living things such as mould, mites, and dander.
One of the most obvious indoor polluters is smoke. Not only is second hand smoke as dangerous as smoking, it can penetrate furniture, draperies, and bedding. Never allow anyone to smoke inside your home.
7 simple ways to improve your home’s air quality
- Check your kitchen, bathroom(s) and basement for any excess moisture, which can cause mould and odours. If found, seek help from a professional to get the problem solved.
- Consider switching from commercial to natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda, or green products that are fragrance free.
- Professionally maintain your home appliances annually, especially your furnace, heat pump and central air.
- Pay particular attention to your carpeting. New carpets can be a source of formaldehyde, and old carpets can hold mould, odours and other unhealthy things such as mites. Keep all carpets as clean and dry as possible. Vacuums with HEPA filters and central vacuum systems are considered the most efficient. If you are shampooing your carpet, follow the directions very carefully, as you may expose yourself to soap dust. If your carpet is water damaged and mouldy, it should be removed.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and never run your car in the garage — especially if it’s attached to your home.
- Do not store pesticides, old paint, and other chemicals in your basement or garage. Ask your municipality for information on how to dispose of them properly.
- Go green (literally) with live air filters by growing plants in your home, especially Boston ferns, spider plants, rubber plants, and palm trees.
Get to the bottom of your indoor pollutants
It’s important that you dedicate time to searching out sources of air pollution in your home. We recommend the Healthy Home Audit produced by the Canadian Lung Association. Download their trusted advice and breathe easy!