Understand Indoor Air Quality in Your Home.
Some pollutants in the air are especially harmful for children, elderly people and those with health problems.
Most of us spend much of our time indoors. The air that we breathe in our homes, in schools and in offices can put us at risk for health problems. Some pollutants can be chemicals, gases and living organisms like mold and pests.
Several sources of air pollution are in homes. Some pollutants cause health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches, or fatigue. Other pollutants cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and other serious long-term conditions. Sometimes individual pollutants at high concentrations, such as carbon monoxide can cause death.
Improving Your Indoor Air
Take steps to help improve your air quality and reduce your IAQ-related health risks at little or no cost by:
Controlling the sources of pollution: Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air is to eliminate individual sources or reduce their emissions.
Ventilating: Increasing the amount of fresh air brought indoors helps reduce pollutants inside. When weather permits, open windows and doors, or run an air conditioner with the vent control open. Bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust to the outdoors also increase ventilation and help remove pollutants.
Always ventilate and follow manufacturers’ instructions when you use products or appliances that may release pollutants into the indoor air.
Changing filters regularly: Central heaters and air conditioners have filters to trap dust and other pollutants in the air. Make sure to change or clean the filters regularly, following the instructions on the package.
Adjusting humidity:The humidity inside can affect the concentrations of some indoor air pollutants. For example, high humidity keeps the air moist and increases the likelihood of mold.
Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Use a moisture or humidity gauge, available at most hardware stores, to see if the humidity in your home is at a good level. To increase humidity, use a vaporizer or humidifier. To decrease humidity, open the windows if it is not humid outdoors. If it is warm, turn on the air conditioner or adjust the humidity setting on the humidifier.