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14 Foolproof Ways to Control the Air Quality of Your Home

Breathing in quality air is an essential of maintaining health. Keeping the quality of air around you is one of the most effective ways to keep fit. However, when air pollution issues arise, we most likely neglect our indoor environments but focus on the outdoor pollutants, causes and effects. While this is the case, you may create a lot of problems unknowingly for yourself indoors. Poor quality air can either worsen most of your ill health conditions or initiate new health challenges with your indoor air pollution habits. The effects of this may be immediate or delayed but after much exposure, the greatest sufferers are the elderly, people with asthma, and children who are more likely to be playing on the ground.

While indoor air quality is often neglected, it’s yet more important. Controlling and breathing in quality indoor air is very significant for your health especially in your modern airtight home where indoor air finds it difficult to escape. Unfortunately, most of the indoor pollutants are brought into your home yourself. Common with most Americans, we spend most of our times indoors in our homes after our offices or automobiles. This is you I guess? Most of the times, the used chemicals in our homes, gas and other harmful pollutants causes numerous health problems in our homes like fatigue, allergies, eye irritations, headaches, and more unknowingly.
Check out some of the most common indoor air pollutants or pollution causes often neglected in your home:

• Pollutants from combustions such as Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen(II)oxide
These harmful pollutants result from improperly secured fuel-burning indoor materials or appliances like the space heaters, water heaters, wood stoves, fire places or oven, gas stoves, dryers etc. and build-up unknowingly.
Both gases (carbon monoxide and nitrogen(II)oxide) are odorless and colorless which makes them not easily detectable or perceived with the normal human senses. They interfere with the amount of oxygen delivered throughout the body and causes damage to the vital organs. Effects of this may include dizziness, weakness, headaches, vomiting and nausea, irritations (eyes, nose, and throat), increased risk of respiratory tract infections, seizure, and they may cause death in critical conditions.

• Smoking
Smoking causes another serious indoor pollution which is often not attended to since it’s a product of direct human consumption. Smokes from a cigarette, weeds among others are serious air pollutants in your home that has the tendency to worsen symptoms of asthma for sufferers, cause serious ear infection in children and increased risks of infant deaths.
“The residual gas and particles from cigarette smoke that settle… [do] pose health hazards, particularly in rooms with a lot of fabric or carpeting,” says pulmonologist Sumita Khatri, MD.

• Radon
Identified as the second leading cause of Lung Cancer, Radon is a very dangerous air pollutant. Radon can enter your home through improperly sealed openings or cracks.

• Synthetic fragrances
Synthetic fragrances often used as air fresheners or in laundry products may pose some health challenges unknowing. They’re everywhere around us claimed to be tested and safe by the U.S safety test before they’re brought to the market but do you know the only test confirmed with these fragrances is just their skin irritation effects? Forget the names and labels or how effective and safe they claim to be. The many gases common out from these products are highly volatile and contain harmful organic compounds not tested at all for potential dangers. Long and overuse of these chemicals products can cause a lot of health challenges or worsen health concerns.
Other indoor air pollutants with harsh chemicals and irritating fumes are household cleaning supplies. These may also include:
• Particulates from incenses and candles.
• Fumes from dry-cleaned garments.
• Allergens (pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold).
• Asbestos, lead, formaldehyde used in other buildings.
• Office supplies and craft such as toner ink, glues, and paints.

All these and more can worsen the health conditions of people with upper airways and sensitive lungs like asthma and chronic sinusitis.
Keeping the quality of your indoor air is one of the most critical health issues and its importance can’t be over emphasized. Being as important as quality air control and breathing is addressed, below are the most recommended ways to keep your indoor air quality optimum.

1. Avoid Indoor Smoking Quit smoking is the best answer to keep your overall health in check but if you must smoke, don’t do it indoors. What if you have a friend around who is a smoker? Ask him to go out and do the stuff outside if he must. Did you know, the smoke your friend exhaled after taking a drag contains over 4,000 different chemicals? Even with second-hand smoking, you aren’t risk-free to keep your pace wide or just from indoors.

2. Open Your Windows to Let Fresh Air In From Outside Ensure to open the windows of your home a few minutes every day to let in fresh air from the outside. This helps to lower the concentration of carbon monoxide and nitrogen (II) oxide build-up inside your home and it’s one of the most recommended ways for natural ventilation. Indeed, the quality of indoor air is typically several times poorer than the air outside, so, endeavor to open your windows as often as possible.

3. Use Recommended Air Purifiers or Filters While opening your windows let fresh air in from the outside, this isn’t too effective in extreme temperature or allergies. Using air filters is one surest way to solve the problem of your indoor air quality but you must be very careful to use only recommended filters. Some air purifiers can make the quality of your indoor air worse if they aren’t the right kinds. So, what you need is a high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air filters only recommended by experts.

4. Reduce Moisture Using an Air Conditioner and or a Dehumidifier Using an Air Conditioner (AC) or a Dehumidifier helps to limit the growth of mold and the presence of dust mite indoor. Some molds produce mycotoxins and allergens which have severe adverse effects such as a stuffy and runny nose, skin and eye irritations, asthma attacks depending on the sensitivity of exposure and the kind of mold. This is applicable even to non-allergic people. A dehumidifier will effectively help you to control molds and endeavor to empty your AC drip containers/pans. Don’t forget to get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) checked regularly.

5. Remove Your Shoes At The Door Whatever is your belief, everything turns to dust just with time. Some of these processes may be obvious while others may not. Have you ever watched your couch losing its shape in real-time? Or you’re a cat or pet owner seeing your foam turn into pieces? Then you already understand what I’m saying. However, with other materials that take a long time to crumble, the case is different. Whether you’re just a neat freak or a teenager engaged in domestic disarray, keeping your home clean is a must and an effective way to improve the quality of your indoor air. To do this, endeavor to keep a doormat in your doorstep and ask visitors to pull their shoes. Vacuuming or mopping your floor at least once a week is recommended.

6. Reduce The Use of Artificial Fragrances You should try fragrance-free products or products with natural scents for cleaning and laundering. You can arrange slices of lemons on a plate to perfume your room. Also, using baking soda to eliminate odors especially in your refrigerators is a good choice.

7. Track your humidity levels regularly using a Smart Baby Monitor (SBM). A SBM could be used for more than just infants – this product is a helpful tool to diagnose the air quality of your home.

8. Endeavor to keep your gas stove well-ventilated. As mentioned, modern construction has resulted in insulated, indoor spaces. While this is a great advancement structurally, it means less circulation in your home. Make sure that gas has a way to escape through ventilation, a fan, or an open window.

9. Remove any carpeting if possible. Carpet has a tendency to lock in particles from the air. Your carpet can be a breeding ground for releasing air-borne pathogens. Carpet removal is not always an option, but if you have the ability and means to do so, the change in flooring can be instrumental in your home’s air quality.

10. Ensure you seal all water leaks in your home. Water leaks can not only damage your home structurally, but also contaminate the air you breathe. Water leaks can create breeding grounds for mold and other air-borne pathogens.

11. Open your windows while cooking or taking your shower. Be conscious of the ventilation in your home, especially when you cook or shower. Make sure that the air has a place to escape.

12. User carbon monoxide detectors and also test your home for Radon regularly. The problem with ensuring your home’s air is up to quality standards is that it is difficult to visualize. Making sure your air is free of these invisible dangers is important to securing the health of your family.

13. You can also grow natural air filter plants in your home. Plants like the Variegated snake plant (Sansevieria Trisfasciata ‘Laurentii’), English ivy (Hedera helix), Peace lily, etc. Many house plants have air purifying qualities. Brighten your space and purify your air at the same time by adding greenery to your home!

14. Wash your beddings weekly using hot water. Like carpeting, linens can trap in airborne contaminants. Washing your sheets regularly helps refresh your air quality – and who doesn’t love to sleep in clean sheets?

Some little precautions can help you improve the quality of your indoor air and live healthier.

Reduce Summer Energy Costs with These Hacks

All of you who love to open your energy bill and see a ridiculous increase in your monthly costs, please raise your hand. We didn’t think so. Every summer, millions of Americans experience just that, muttering profanities under their breath, staring in disbelief, trying to decipher kilowatt hours and their summer energy costs. Following those profanities, they consider implementing a household ban: no soul shall touch the air conditioner or the fan, we will roast alive instead.

Such drastic measures aren’t necessary: there are quite a few ways to reduce summer energy costs and save your wallet from the perils of ballooning energy bills. Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption in general, or you simply want to lend Mother Earth a helping hand, Stadtler is here to help.

 

Windows

For many climates, running your air conditioning throughout the evening just isn’t necessary: the cool nighttime air and lack of sun can do wonders for naturally cooling your home. Turn off your AC and open your windows at night, and, in the morning, shut your windows and drapes to trap the cool air already circulating within.

 

Furthermore, you can install window treatments or awnings to shade your windows, a strategy that will not only provide a little decorating pop but add some tremendous shading power. Some awnings have been proven to reduce solar heat by an astonishing 65-75%! Compared to older models, today’s awnings are much more efficient and last substantially longer. Opt for units that are water repellent, mold resistant, and light-colored—lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight than their darker counterparts. Ensure that your selection has proper ventilation in the form of eyelets or grommets so that air can flow through. As well, look for models that roll up or retract in the winter so you can capture sunlight to warm your home when you need it.

 

Leakage

Window leaks are more common than you would imagine, especially if you have older windows. Search for leaks and seal them ( conversely, this will be of great importance as you seek to heat your home come winter). Make sure to purchase a door stopper to line the bottom of any doors may that leak air.

 

Drapes

summer, energy, costs, curtain

Closing blinds and drapes is an excellent technique for avoiding the direct sunlight that turns homes into broilers. If you can stand a little summer darkness, awesome: draw your blinds and drapes. If you must bask in daylight, try drawing the blinds and closing curtains in rooms that are not being used. This action alone is perfect for countering the sun’s greenhouse effect.

 

Air Conditioning

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s recommended that you set your AC to 78 degrees during the summer months (if you can stand it, set it a bit higher). The goal is to create the least amount of difference between the soaring outside temperatures and your home’s interior, the result being lower energy bills from an AC unit that isn’t working overtime to cool your home. This little technique alone can amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year. When you’re more interested in maximizing savings as opposed to turning your home into a meat locker, this strategy will give you the most bang for your energy saving buck.

 

But how often do you clean your air conditioner? Are you growing a two-inch thick layer of dust over your filter, forcing your unit to work harder as a result? Be sure to clean your unit’s filter at least once a month to keep it running at optimum levels.

 

When using window AC units, check for leakage around the window units and plug accordingly, as you don’t want your precious cool air escaping outside.

 

And of course, there’s no reason to cool rooms that aren’t being used, which include empty guest rooms and vacant bedrooms. Close vents, close doors, let your unused rooms cook.

 

Water Heaters

During the summer months, you’re far more likely to enjoy a cool shower, especially after spending a day in the blistering summer heat. Consider turning down the heat on your water heater during the summer months to a range of 115 to 120 degrees, another significant contribution to reducing your summer energy bills.

 

Put Your Ceiling Fan To Work

energy, heating, summer

Is it always necessary to run your air conditioner? Probably not. Instead, your ceiling fan can put in some serious work when it comes to keeping your home cool, especially when paired with cooler evening air. One of the most important things that people forget during the summer months is the following: switch your fans so they rotate in a counter-clockwise movement, which forces cool air downward. The counterclockwise direction is optimal for the summer months, while the opposite is optimal for cooler seasons. As well, there’s no need to have your fan running with no one benefitting from it. If you’re the last person out of the room, be sure to turn the fan off.

 

Cooking

If you’re baking casseroles and cupcakes in the summer, your house is going to feel like the Mojave. Cooking warms your home significantly in the summer. But one must eat, of course. Instead of running the oven or stove, grill outside, a delicious alternative where you can cook a substantial amount food at one time (great for freezing and eating throughout the week) without turning the whole house into a sauna.

 

Unplug and Save

If you want to save a little extra on your summer energy bills, unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used on a regular basis. These sleeping electronics contribute significantly to your energy costs over the summer through a process called “phantom load”—engery usage during non-use. If you’re using surge protectors, flick off the power to several unused items with the press of a button.

 

Appliances & Technology

Most modern technology is Energy Star certified, but you may have some pieces in your home that are not. Consider upgrading the usual suspects—refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.— to ensure that they adhere to the EPA’s energy efficiency guidelines. This action is not only great for keeping your costs down, but also for the environment.

 

Secondly, manually managing your thermostat on a daily basis is completely old school. If possible, upgrade to a programmable unit that will take the repetition and guesswork from the equation and help you put your energy saving techniques on autopilot.

 

And don’t forget the light bulbs! If you haven’t already, replace your current fleet of light bulbs with Energy Star rated models. Also, fluorescent lights are known to generate less heat than other model bulbs.

 

Together, these energy and cost-reducing tactics will help reduce your summer energy costs and save you from the weak knees and dizziness resulting from opening a massive power bill. When you’ve leveraged all of these summer energy hacks and it comes time to do some serious cooling work, be sure to remember your friends at Stadler Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Illinois community’s heating, cooling, and air quality needs for decades and would love the opportunity to help you tackle the summer heat.

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