Indoor air quality isn’t something you can see, but it’s certainly something you’ll feel. Taking steps to protect and improve the air quality in your Maryland home will help you and your family literally breathe easier. If you’re not careful, you may overlook many common sources of air pollutants throughout the home. With some mindful product choices and preventive maintenance tasks, however, you can keep your air fresh, clean, and healthy.
1. Choose Cleaning Products with Care
Many store-bought cleaning products come packed with chemicals. These can easily become airborne, particularly if you’re using an aerosol. Using pump products will help keep cleaning chemicals out of the air, but better yet is avoiding hazardous products entirely.
You can make many simple cleaning products yourself with natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, salt, and lemon juice. A bit of olive oil and lemon juice makes a wonderful wood polish, and a few drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled with water gives you a powerful way to fight mold and mildew in the bathroom. If you still prefer store-bought cleaners, look for those with certifications from GreenSeal, Greenguard, or Scientific Certification Systems.
2. Take Care of Your HVAC System
Preventive care is essential to keeping your heating and cooling system at peak efficiency. You should schedule tune-ups twice a year. The ideal times are in early spring before you turn on your air conditioner for the first time, and in early autumn prior to switching over to your heating system. During these regular visits, your HVAC technician will perform many tasks, including cleaning the interior and exterior of your system. This will eliminate any buildup of dust, pollen, mildew, and other debris that can diminish indoor air quality.
In between visits, you should change your air filter once a month. This will prevent heavy buildup of dust and dirt so that your heating and cooling systems can operate efficiently.
3. Freshen the Air Naturally
Avoid air fresheners that are laden with synthetic aromas and chemicals. Instead, try more natural options like a potpourri of dried herbs and flowers or natural soy candles scented with essential oils. In fall, simmer orange slices, cinnamon sticks, apple peels, and cloves on the stove for a wonderful harvest aroma.
Many plants act as natural air cleaners. Though they may not add a heavy aroma of their own, they will filter out harmful chemicals in the air such as xylene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, giving you fresher and safer air. Plants that are particularly well-suited to this task include aloe vera, spider plants, Boston ferns, snake plants, and dracaena.
4. Install an Air Cleaner
Adding an air purifier to your HVAC system will remove pollutants from the air more effectively than a filter alone. An electronic air purifier can stop smoke, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. You have several options for advanced filtration systems, including Aprilaire air cleaners, electronic air cleaners, media filter cabinets, and germicidal UV lamps. An air cleaning system is important in a well-sealed home, where indoor air pollution can linger.
5. Pick the Right Paint
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are often added to paint to slow drying time or prevent freezing. While these compounds are handy for transportation and application, they’re dangerous to breathe. Paint that contain VOCs will continue to off-gas these toxins for 3 to 5 years after application. A low VOC paint will have reduced levels of these compounds, and a zero VOC paint has none in its initial base. Keep in mind, however, that VOCs are often present in the pigments added to your paint as well. For a choice that’s completely free of VOCs and other chemicals, consider milk paint.
To learn more about how you can improve your indoor air quality with the right products and preventive services, contact Griffith Energy Services at (888) 474-3391. We can help keep your HVAC system in top shape with a preventive maintenance plan, suggest smart upgrades, or help you choose the right air cleaner. A few mindful changes can significantly improve indoor air quality in your home.
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