Quarantine has many of us indoors more often than we would like. On those cherishable, sunny spring days there is no resisting the temptation to open up your windows and release the “stuffiness” from your home. Our friends from Certified Indoor Environmental have told us that those instincts are valid. An increase in cleaning, cooking, and even exhaling carbon dioxide in a confined space increases your uptake of harmful toxins. Certified Indoor Environmental has given us the following tips on how to improve your indoor air quality & ventilation.
First, start with source control. Find out what is causing toxic air in your home and eliminate it at the source. Simple things like keeping a tidy house can make a big difference. With the threat of covid-19 an uptick in cleaning, mopping, and disinfecting with a variety of products can keep viruses, germs, pet dander and dust mites down, but can also trigger harmful off-gassing VOCs. It should go without saying that smoking inside is a significant allergy and asthma trigger. However, second-hand smoke also comes from indoor fireplaces, incense, and candles – these build up exponentially during the winter months when windows are closed. Being cooped up has also sparked home improvement projects, as a result be careful with toxins from paint and building materials as well.
Second, keep your home well ventilated. The idea that fresh air is good for preventing infections is not new. And yes, opening your windows can help passively vent some offending pollutants in your home – but that can also let them in. Things like pollen and wildfire smoke are best shut outside. Use your bathroom and kitchen fans, especially during humidity-making activities like taking a shower and cooking.The EPA recommends indoor humidity in the 30 to 60 percent range. Houses with a high-humidity problem should consider a dehumidifier to keep moisture in check. Humidity creates a breeding ground for mold in your home. For persistent problems like mold and mildew, seek professional help.
Third, check your property’s air filters. Your HVAC filter plays a big role in keeping your indoor air clean, especially when you can’t open your windows because of seasonal allergies or smoke. According to the EPA, “Most air filters have a good efficiency rating for removing larger particles when they remain airborne. These particles include dust, pollen, some molds, animal dander, and those that contain dust mite and cockroach body parts and droppings.” Consider upgrading to a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) filter able to trap and collect finer particles of pollution and other airborne contaminants.
Also keep in mind, no system has been proven to filter COVID-19 as of yet—as it is a new virus.This is why proper disinfecting procedures are required, wearing masks, gloves, and following procedures to regularly disinfect are all key factors in reducing the spread of any contagion. For peace of mind, seek professional disinfecting services that include a fogging method using EPA-approved disinfectant that coats hard to reach areas including airborne pathogens.
Spring Is A Great Time To Get An IAQ Test! (See How Certified Indoor Environmental Is Facilitating This Service Safely During Covid-19 Crisis)
Curious about what is really going on with air quality in your home? A quick and thoroughIndoor Air Quality Test and consultation from Certified Indoor Environmental (CIE) can help you identify sources of pollution and provide you with a plan to reduce toxins through cleanup, proper ventilation, and appropriate air filtering technologies.