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Many people live on the assumption that indoor air is clean and healthy. Quite the opposite, there are a number of issues that happen behind closed doors that can affect the air inside your home making it unhealthy for you and your family.
If pollutants exceed the flow of clean and fresh air in your home, then you or your members who are exposed to the condition can suffer respiratory illness and other conditions like asthma.
What you might not be aware of is that some of the air pollution in your home could be caused by some of the items you are bringing into the home. Do not worry though; we are here to identify how some of these things could be affecting the quality of air flowing inside your house.
We will also highlight some of the best measures that you can put into practice to ensure that your family inhales clean and fresh air which is key to good health and happiness.
15 Things That Affect Indoor Air Quality
This is probably one of the highest causes of indoor air contamination. Over 20 million people across the world suffer dust-related allergens. There are many ways through which dust can find room in your home, for instance, you could have gone shopping and collected some dusty house utilities. A single particle of dust has the ability to carry, contain and spread dead skin, pet dander or mold spores. All these could be contaminated.
Dust elimination might be an impossible undertaking especially taking into account the day to day activities that one gets involved in and the need to get home anyway. However, the levels of dust accumulation can be reduced significantly using an air purifier.
Much as we love them, pets can also affect the quality of the air we are inhaling from our homes. The pet dander can either stir up, pets like cats and dogs can also collect other irritants from outside or bring them inside your home. All these will find their way to you whenever the pet comes to you or lays on your couch or bed.
Because you cannot limit the adventures of your pet, it is advisable to keep it as clean as possible and to make sure that what it brings or leaves behind the contact surfaces does not cause irritation.
Items That Interfere With Humidity
Humidity refers to the amount of water or moisture in the air. There are many factors that can affect the humidity levels of a home. Installing that water tap or instant shower are examples of improvements we bring into a home that can affect the air humidity and consequently, the quality of the air we are taking through to our lungs.
Experts recommend a humidity range of 30-50 per cent for homes and other indoor spaces. If the humidity level in your home goes below 30 per cent, it only means trouble. Inhaling such air could end up causing effects like skin irritation, soreness, and dry eyes. Highs above 50 per cent could cause water-based substances like mold to develop inside your home.
Inhaling some of the particles found in the substances can cause respiratory infections like lung irritations, short breaths or other diseases.
Humidity levels in a home can be impacted by things like water tap leakages, placing items that trap air between them and other surfaces thus causing some wetness. Apart from affecting the quality of the air in your home, unchecked humidity levels can also cause general discomfort within a home.
Incorrect humidity levels can be checked by investing in a humidifier to add moisture when the atmosphere gets dry (humidity falls too low) or a dehumidifier to absorb the excess moisture from the air when the humidity levels go above the healthy levels.
Many candles and especially those ones you light during festivities produce some fragrances as they burn. Agreed, they set the atmosphere right for the occasion but the emitted odors can be irritating for your lungs. For healthy candle fragrances, it is advisable to use natural ingredients like olive oil and apple pie.
It’s common practice for many homes to have a number of chemicals like air fresheners flowing around the air indoors. These chemicals are commonly referred to as VOCs which is an abbreviation for Volatile Organic Compounds.
It is almost impossible to live without some of the VOCs floating the air. However, high concentrations of these chemicals can largely affect the quality of the air inside your home. Inhaling the combination of these chemicals can cause unexpected health effects than you may know.
It is advisable to significantly reduce the number of VOCs in use around a home in order to reduce the level of air contamination. It is also advisable to invest in an air purifier. A good one will ensure that the air that gets through to your lungs is free of the dangerous chemicals found in the VOCs.
That dream couch you finally managed to purchase can be a primary cause for low air quality inside your home. How? You ask, well, some materials that are used in making furniture are normally treated with chemicals that interfere with the air quality especially in an indoor environment. Items like cushions are treated with formaldehyde and other compounds that can greatly interfere with the quality of air your family is taking in.
We love guests, but we cannot control the kind of fragrances they bring into our homes. Some could be wearing irritating perfumes, others could bring along pet dander from their homes and so on. For you and your household, having such visitors especially for some days can cause some air quality discomfort. It’s worse if one of your family members has an allergy. The only way to ensure the air is clean and fresh on such days is to run an air purifier which will come in handy to reduce the irritants.
Nothing creates a cool ambiance like a fireplace inside your home, especially during the cold months. That said, it is important to take care of the firewood you are burning indoors, this is because some firewood produces harmful mold particles after burning.
After being exposed to your indoor air, these mold particles could end up affecting the quality of the air. Some firewood also produces a smoky odor that can affect the quality of the air. Running an air purifier can help neutralize the unpleasant odors and clean up the air that you and your family will be inhaling.
Paint and Varnish
New paint or varnish is also another thing that can cause air pollution inside your home. However, refurbishing your home requires the two. Inhaling air that has the strong odours floated therein can cause damage to the respiratory system. It is advisable to avoid painting your home on days when you or your family will spend long hours indoors.
It is also healthy to run an air purifier so that the harmful molecules are cleansed before getting to your respiratory system.
Whether they are brand new or second hand, home carpets can hold dust, smells and dirt. Bringing one in your home exposes your indoor air to potential contamination. Avoid buying carpets that have been treated with strong organic chemicals. Take extra caution before buying used carpets as well. Stay away from carpets that produce dirt with cleaning or from the material they are made of.
When left for so long, food produce gets rotten and grows some mold. So yes, bringing in too much food items that are perishable could actually be affecting the quality of the air you breathe. To avoid contaminating the air from the mold and other organic gases that are emitted as the food gets rotten, always throw away old food produce or buy in small quantities that you can use before it gets rotten.
Gas Heaters and Stoves
While running, gas heaters and stoves emit into the air a gas known as carbon monoxide. Though it can cause many dangers and even death upon prolonged inhalation, this gas remains odorless and invisible. This means you can take in huge amounts of it without even knowing. If you are burning gas-based space heaters or gases, it is very important to check that your home has sufficient ventilation and to use a purifier to clean out all the harmful particles that could be in the air.
They are ideal for cleaning our homes; however, how we use these gadgets largely determines their efficacy in as far as indoor air quality is concerned. Vacuum cleaning should be done slowly and progressively in order to capture dust. If done hurriedly, the opposite happens because it only raises dust, pollen, pet dander, dust mites and so on which easily mix up with your indoor air which ends up affecting the quality.
Bringing in decorations to glam your home could affect the quality of the air inside your home. Some home decoration items like trees and flowers contain mould spores from their origin and this could mess up your indoor air quality. Keep this and mind and always mind the source and quality of the decorations you are bringing into your home, always.
Too Many Indoor Accessories
Last on our list is the accessories we bring to our homes. Whichever way you choose to decorate your home in a bid to make it appealing, it is important that you do not use an accessory that blocks or interferes with the ventilation. For instance, if your house’s vents are positioned at the windows, take note not to block airflow using heavy curtains or placing items like photos along that line. In addition to this, always make sure you open windows and allow fresh and clean air to flow in and dilute any contaminated air that may be held inside your home.
Enclosed spaces have an ability to accumulate air pollutants lowering the quality of the air you breathe while there. Avoid bringing in substances that can lower the quality of the air inside your home.