10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in San Diego Homes
As we discuss in our post “Considering Indoor Air Quality in San Diego Homes,” indoor air is often more toxic than outdoor air. In fact, allergy specialists, pulmonologists and even the Environmental Protection Agency highly recommend providing proper ventilation to your house by opening windows as often as possible, even when it is very cold outside! One way to determine if you have unhealthy air is to monitor how you are feeling at another location like work or outside.
Creating healthy indoor air in a San Diego home can go a long way in protecting your family’s health. The first step is to understand exactly what is causing unhealthy air.
Understand the Biggest Threats to Indoor Air Quality in San Diego
Proximity to a busy street: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, those living within 500 to 600 feet of a busy street have higher incidences of asthma onset and aggravation, heart disease, premature babies, childhood leukemia and premature death.
Sealed up homes: America’s focus on energy conservation has driven the push for well-insulated, well-built homes. Today’s San Diego homes are more sealed up than ever. While this makes for lower energy use (which helps the environment and saves you money) it also traps the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be found in paint, carpeting, building materials and our cleaning supplies. These chemicals slowly emerge from these products in a process called “off-gassing.” Further, many homeowners class pet dander, pollen and mold as “dirt,” a somewhat innocuous perception. The EPA considers these “pollutants,” particularly when they combine with radicalizing VOCs to create even more toxic substances.
Invisible substances: People tend to put up with low-level, long-term illness because they have almost no way of seeing or smelling the toxic substances infiltrating their homes. Only an indoor air test kit, an air testing service or a San Diego HVAC specialist can determine whether your home has acceptable or unacceptable levels of: radon, asbestos, formaldehyde, mold spores, smoke, dust mite waste and suspended lead particles.
Measuring your home’s pollutant levels is the first step in knowing how to treat it. You wouldn’t go to the cardiologist for a rash and you wouldn’t use plants to try and remove lead particles. Make sure you know what’s in your home to get the right solution.
Improve Indoor Air Quality with These 10 Steps
- Clean your home regularly: consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Use nontoxic, nonaerosol and unscented cleaning products or make your own from vinegar, baking soda and other weaker cleaning agents.
- Keep home ventilated. Let fresh air in every day, even if temperatures are cool. Open a few windows to get cross breezes going. Use the exhaust fan when you cook. Send those vapors and smoke outside.
- Remodel with low chemical materials. Go for formaldehyde free cabinetry, woodwork and carpeting. Use low VOC paint.
- Remodel with materials that repel dust. Consider tile or hardwood flooring rather than carpeting. Use shutters rather than long draperies. Carpeting and curtains can hold onto pet dander, dust mite waste and other nasty substances for years.
- Consider a whole house air purifier or individual units. Even the Home Depot website page promoting small, standalone units says that the most efficient units are those installed in the home’s HVAC system. Ask your HVAC specialist about an electrostatic filter which captures more airborne particles.
- Change your air filters regularly. Both for your whole house filter and your smaller, standalone units.
- Always wash new fabrics—clothing, curtains, towels, etc—to eliminate chemicals from manufacturing.
- Do not allow smoking indoors. Quashing cigarette smoking goes without saying, but limit burning wood in the fireplace and even the use of candles.
- Don’t mask odors with commercial air fresheners. They are a pool of chemicals. Simmer cinnamon on the stove in some water instead.
- Leave shoes at the door. Not only do they track in dirt, they bring pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners and other toxic chemicals into the home.
- Consider air cleaning plants. NASA needed ways to keep the air clean in space stations and so tested many plants for their abilities to absorb certain dangerous gases. They found that plants including Mother-in-law’s tongue, Peace Lily, Devils Ivy and English Ivy reduced the amount of formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene and ammonia in the air.
Get the Best in Home Comfort with A+ Rated Perry Plumbing Heating & Air
We’re proud of our San Diego neighbors who are doing everything they can to protect both their health and the earth. Eco-focused for twenty years now, Team Perry has all kinds of solutions for those looking to escape harmful chemicals and the health hazards they create. Call us at 619-472-2112, and check out our website at www.perryplumbing.com. Our helpful coupons ensure you save money, and we always provide discounts to those who serve society (military, firefighters, EMTs) as well as seniors. We are proud to be a Better Business Bureau 2015 Torch Award Finalist for our outstanding marketplace ethics. Read our favorable 5-Star Google Plus and Yelp reviews, and rest assured that our award-winning company will provide friendly, helpful, expert service for all of your plumbing needs.