You would probably do just about anything to protect your family from threats or harm, which is why you’ve likely installed a home security system to keep intruders at bay. What you might not realize is that some of the threats to your family originate within your four walls. And they could go largely unseen, causing respiratory distress, skin irritation, and other health issues. The specific threat under discussion is poor interior air quality, and if your breathable air is packed with common contaminants like dust, dander, pollen, smoke, mold, mildew, and bacteria, your family could be suffering unnecessarily. But you can protect them from these notorious household pollutants in a number of ways. Here are some strategies to consider.
It can be difficult to control your indoor air quality when dealing with outdoor contaminants that are finding their way in, so your first order of business may be to hire a home energy auditor. This professional can test your home from top-to-bottom in order to explain where you’re suffering from the incursion of outdoor air. From there you can seal leaks, increasing efficiency and cutting indoor air pollution in the process. Just remember that you might also need to improve your ventilation any time you increase airtightness in your home. Stale air could actually be more harmful than air that is merely polluted.
You should also do your best to remove pollutants from your home. You might not like the idea of sending your dog or cat to a new home, but if a family member is allergic to pet dander, it could be your best option. You can also institute a regimented cleaning schedule that ensures particulates are kept to a minimum – and switch to green cleaners that eschew toxic chemicals. And replacing furniture, carpeting, and other plush surfaces with smooth or hard surfaces isn’t a bad idea since plush items trap and hold pollutants, releasing them back into the air later on.
If you suspect a mold problem in your home, it’s a good idea to test for it. You should go into the process knowing that you’re going to find mold – it’s in every home. But if you test annually you can track the mold in your home so you know when levels are on the rise. This will give you the information you need to decide if it’s time to spend the money on a mold remediation specialist.
Of course, if you really want to clean up your interior air, you will have to consider an air purification system. You’ll want to look for the highest MERV ratings, which tell you which systems are able to trap and lock away the tiniest particulates. Often, these systems feature HEPA filters that can stop contaminants as small as 0.3 microns (which includes bacteria). You can either select portable air purifiers to move around the house as needed, or if your situation is serious, a whole-home system that piggy-backs on your HVAC to clean the air that goes to all of your living spaces. If you want to protect your family from indoor air pollution, a home that is tightly sealed and properly ventilated is a good place to start. But from there, you’ll need to take control of your interior environment and do all you can to reduce potentially harmful pollutants in the air.