Are your sinuses acting up at home? Perhaps you find yourself sniffling, coughing, and sneezing your way through the halls? If so, you aren’t alone. The United States EPA did its research and ranked the air quality inside our homes to be one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health.
You read that right. Overall, the average home harbors a level of indoor air pollutants 2 to 5 times higher than the outdoor environment. Your air fresheners and candles aren’t helping either. Neither is your furniture. Poor ventilation and the use of various toxins and chemicals within the home has made it a potential health danger. One that threatens your family’s respiratory health, especially if you or your loved ones already suffer from asthma or other health problems.
The good news is that you can take steps to improve the air quality within your home. Some of it involves acquiring new habits, while others include maintaining your home’s air conditioning and HVAC system.
Why is My Home So Dangerous?
Nobody warned us that many of our common household items are dangerous to our health. At least, not in a way that was obvious. If you read the fine print, you’ll find that many home toxins are the ones that we bring in through household cleaners, air “fresheners,” and even our everyday luxuries.
Let’s start with the furniture, technologies, and even your clothing. You may have heard the phrase “flame retardant.” It’s a toxic PBDE that was used on furniture prior to 2006, but still can be found on certain items today. While it can save lives by preventing these items from catching on fire, studies over the last few decades have proven that inhalation of these toxins over time can cause permanent damage to the nervous and reproductive systems.
Your household cleaners and fragrant candles are no different. The ingredients used in both include toxic chemicals and compounds that cause respiratory sensitivity and airflow limitations. Combine them with natural contaminants such as mold, pet dander, pollen, and more, and it’s no wonder our homes are slowly hurting us.
Symptoms include dry eyes, headaches, fatigue, nausea, nasal congestion. Over time, they can lead to asthmatic issues, lung infections, or cancer.
So what do we do about it?
How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
There are three main ways you can improve your health and the overall air quality inside your home. First, you want to eliminate any sources of air contaminants. Buy furniture that is organically made (not chemically treated) and avoid using any in-home products that utilize harsh chemicals.
Secondly, improve your ventilation within the home. You’d be surprised how many people don’t change their AC filters. It is one of the biggest culprits of bad air circulation, as well as air conditioning problems.
HVAC professionals, Best Home Services, states, “Because the air has to run through the filter, any obstruction is going to make it more difficult for the air in your home to circulate. Also, the air that does pass through can bring dust and debris with it.”
Regular at-home maintenance and annual service appointments from HVAC professionals will go a long way in improving your air quality, as well as the efficiency of your system.
Lastly, take time to get outside. There are many physical benefits of enjoying the great outdoors. Make sure you schedule some fresh air into your day and enjoy a little sunshine.