Ways To Main­tain In­door Air Qual­ity All Year Long

Escalon Times - - NEWS -

Mil­lions of peo­ple anx­iously an­tic­i­pate the ar­rival of spring. Months spent cooped up in­doors as tem­per­a­tures out­side dip close to freez­ing can take their toll, and those first warm, sunny days of spring can be just what peo­ple need to kick the win­ter blues.

Win­ter can be dreary for peo­ple con­fined to in­doors as tem­per­a­tures drop, and poor air qual­ity in a home can add to that drea­ri­ness while ad­versely af­fect­ing in­di­vid­u­als’ health. Air qual­ity tends to suf­fer most in win­ter, but there are ways to en­sure the air in­side a home stays healthy all year long.

In­spect and ad­dress any sources of car­bon monox­ide. Car­bon monox­ide, or CO, is an in­vis­i­ble, odor­less gas that can con­trib­ute to poor in­door air qual­ity and a host of health prob­lems if it goes un­de­tected in a home. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, po­ten­tial sources of CO in a home in­clude im­prop­erly vented nat­u­ral gas ap­pli­ances, such as stoves and water heaters, gas-pow­ered tools that are used in­doors, clogged chim­neys, or blocked heat­ing ex­haust vents. Men and women can pe­ri­od­i­cally in­spect po­ten­tial sources of CO and ad­dress any is­sues they find while also mak­ing sure all CO de­tec­tors are prop­erly in­stalled and func­tion­ing op­ti­mally.

In­spect HVAC ducts. Duct­work is used to de­liver warm or cool air in homes with heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems. The U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency notes that much of the dirt in air ducts ad­heres to the duct sur­faces with­out ever en­ter­ing liv­ing spa­ces. How­ever, the EPA notes that home­own­ers should con­sider hav­ing their ducts cleaned if an in­spec­tion un­cov­ers sub­stan­tial vis­i­ble mold growth. In ad­di­tion, the EPA rec­om­mends home­own­ers con­sider clean­ing if ducts are in­fested with ver­min or clogged with ex­ces­sive amounts of dust or de­bris.

Avoid chem­i­cal clean­ing prod­ucts. Chem­i­cal clean­ing prod­ucts may be great at dis­in­fect­ing dishes, coun­ter­tops and other ar­eas in the home, but such items may be toxic and ad­versely af­fect in­door air qual­ity. For ex­am­ple, chem­i­cals such as bleach and am­mo­nia, which are used in many com­mer­cial clean­ing prod­ucts, can linger in the air, ir­ri­tat­ing the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Home­own­ers con­cerned about the qual­ity of air in their homes also can avoid scented prod­ucts, such as air fresh­en­ers and scented de­ter­gents, which the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health notes may re­lease volatile or­ganic com­pounds into the air.

In­spect bath­rooms for mold growth. Mold can grow on sur­faces that are rou­tinely wet, and that makes poorly ven­ti­lated bath­rooms com­mon sources for home mold in­fes­ta­tions. Mold can ad­versely af­fect in­door air qual­ity when mold spores are re­leased, po­ten­tially trig­ger­ing al­ler­gic re­ac­tions, asthma at­tacks and res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions. After bathing in bath­rooms with­out vents, men and women can open win­dows so the room dries be­fore mold can grow. In bath­rooms with vents, make sure vents are run­ning dur­ing baths and show­ers and af­ter­ward un­til ceil­ings, walls and floors ap­pear dry.

Poor in­door air qual­ity can be eas­ily ad­dressed to en­sure in­di­vid­u­als stay healthy through­out the year.

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