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Make Your Indoor Air Safer

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

So much attention is given to the quality of outdoor air. Some cities report on a smog alert status, others threaten a summons if you idle your car too long, and in higher temperature seasons, some outdoor air can exacerbate lung conditions such as asthma. Yet, indoor air is rarely a concern.

As people spend more time inside, especially during inclement weather, knowing how to make indoor air safer could significantly increase your quality of life. Taking steps to improve your home and/or workplace indoor air may decrease illness, increase stamina, reduce fatigue and even save energy.

Potential Causes of Indoor Air Compromise

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission lists a variety of potential causes which may contribute to indoor air hazards.

Some of these include:

  • Gas leaks
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Water damage
  • VOC (volatile organic compound) off gassing from sources such as paints
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Toxic home cleaning products

Indoor Air Checklist

Some ways to determine indoor air dangers is to follow an easy checklist. Here are a few recommendations by the Connecticut Department of Health,

  • Walk through the inside of your space to identify potential problems.
  • Look at general cleanliness (or lack thereof) in each of the areas you inspect.
  • Substitute industrial cleaning agents for more environmentally friendly choices that have less of an odor (“low emitters") than the stronger odor-producing ones that may be in use.
  • Look at maintenance areas such closets or mechanical rooms for proper ventilation if holding toxic substances such as paints and other chemical agents.
  • Take note of where carpeting is used. How is it cleaned, and how often? Does it ever get wet from flooding, roof leaks, etc, and if so, how quickly is it dried out?
  • Walk around the outside of your space and look for potential pollution sources.
  • Look for locations of fresh air intakes and exhausts. Are they too close together, allowing exhaust air to be sucked back in via the intakes? Are the intakes located near dumpsters or where busses, trucks or cars idle?
  • Look at how your space is set on the land. Does the land slope downward towards the building, allowing rainwater to pool along the foundation?

Easy Indoor Air Quality Fixes

Sometimes all it takes is a few easy changes around your home or business to change indoor air quality for the better. Home improvement can go a long way to create a less toxic environment all around.

Some easy indoor air quality fixes include:

  • Test Kit - First, finding out the actually quality of your air is essential. A test kit will often analyze levels of mold, dander, carcinogens, pollen, bacteria, and dust.
  • Ventilation - Check all sources of ventilation, particularly in cellars, attics and crawl spaces as well as including timely filter replacements if applicable.
  • Weatherize - Re-sealing around windows and doors not only saves energy but it just may be a deterrent for outside pollution entering your home.
  • Tobacco Outside - If tobacco is being smoked inside your home the toxicity of your air can be staggering. Direct all smoking outside of your space.
  • Air Purifier - Running an air purification device can make a significant difference in your air quality. This is especially true if you have a pet.
  • Products - Switching to more natural cleaning products and non-VOC paints are steps you can take to reduce off-gassing vapors that can leach into your indoor air over long periods of time.

 

Make your indoor air safer by applying these and any other improvements you may come up with. It is a smart move for the health, safety and overall greening of your life.


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eco Home Improvement, Health and Safety, The Air We Breathe and was tagged with air, Air pollution, air quality test, indoor air quality

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