No matter where you live in Central Florida, the air in your home should be safe and healthy to breathe. Increasingly, that’s not the case. Studies have shown that the air inside homes is often many times more polluted than the air outdoors. With people spending more and more of their time indoors, that’s a big problem. From allergens like dust mites to the chemicals used in household products, indoor pollutants pose threats to your respiratory health. Fortunately, there are several effective steps you can take to reduce your exposure to harmful indoor pollutants and improve your indoor air quality.
The Role of Ventilation
Inadequate ventilation is one of the primary causes of indoor pollution. When too little fresh air enters your home, contaminants can rise to dangerous levels. In climates like Central Florida, however, leaving the windows open isn’t always an option. Running exhaust fans when cooking or bathing helps vent polluted air outside. In tightly sealed homes, an energy recovery ventilator offers a more efficient solution. It uses energy captured from your HVAC system’s outgoing air to introduce fresh air into your home.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Hot temperatures and high humidity levels can increase the concentration of biological contaminants in your home. Common allergens like mold, mildew and dust mites thrive in a damp environment. During the long, hot summer season, your first defense against poor indoor air quality is a well-functioning air conditioner:
- Your AC system comes equipped with a filter that helps clean the air. Maximize its filtering power by changing it whenever it’s dirty. Upgrading to a high-efficiency media filter can also be beneficial.
- Air conditioners extract water vapor as well as heat from the air, making them an effective tool against high humidity. To keep the air cool, clean and dry, schedule preventive HVAC maintenance at regular intervals.
- Cleaning the ductwork that circulates air through your home can help everyone breathe easier too. Air ducts tend to collect the same kind of contaminants as other areas of your home. Professional duct cleaning services improve air quality and enhance system performance.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Household products that release gases into the air are a chief source of indoor pollution. From cleansers and disinfectants to air fresheners, many contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pose risks to human health. VOCs have a low boiling point that causes them penetrate and linger in the air. Studies have found that levels of concentration of common VOCs are up to five times higher indoors than outdoors. The following tips can help lower your exposure:
- Always make sure that there is plenty of ventilation whenever you use VOC-emitting product. Whenever possible, use products like paint strippers and other solvents outdoors.
- Pay careful attention to any precautions printed on the product’s label. Never mix products unless the label expressly directs you to do so.
- Some VOCs continue to release compounds even when they’re sealed. The safest place to store them is away from living spaces in a ventilated area like a garage.
- Resist the temptation to purchase products in large quantities. Buy only what you need and dispose of rarely used containers in a safe manner.
Routine dusting and vacuuming goes a long way towards improving indoor air quality. Dust is a sticky substance that attracts all kinds of pollutants, from animal dander to mold spores. A microfiber dustcloth does a good job at removing tiny particles. If a cloud of dust appears whenever you vacuum, invest in a model with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. To kill dust mites, wash sheets and other linens weekly in hot water.
At Advanced Cooling Systems, we’re dedicated to making your home in Central Florida a comfortable and healthy place to inhabit. From HVAC maintenance to air purifiers, we offer an array of products and services that help keep harmful contaminants at bay. To learn more, explore our indoor air quality solutions or call (866) 827-7662.