Online loans today.

How to Have a Healthy Home

July 20, 2012

in Home Improvement | Tagged , , , , ,

healthy homeWhen you think of indoor pollution, those grotesque, blown-up images of dust mites might come to mind. Tiny bugs living in our mattresses are only one source of pollution, however. Different types of indoor pollution include air and water pollutants, cleaning products and cosmetics.

Most of us think of our home as a haven – a safe place where we are protected from the rest of the world. But sometimes extra care needs to be taken to create a healthy home.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

While we might be wary of smog and acid rain, outdoor pollutants probably don’t affect us nearly as much as indoor pollutants do. Concentrations of indoor pollutants are 25 to 62 percent greater than outdoor levels. Because Americans spend 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, they’re at risk for serious health problems.

Sources of air pollution include wood-burning stoves, tobacco smoke, cooking and heating appliances, and vapors from building materials, and furniture. Paints, sealants, and other finishes can also be harmful. Radon, a radioactive gas that’s released from inside the earth, is also a pollutant, and can be found concentrated in some basements.

Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Many of the products we use every day generate indoor air pollution. One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate the sources of the pollution.

  • Choose non-toxic furnishings, flooring, finishes and supplies.
  • Eliminate toxic household cleaners from your home.
  • Seal or enclose asbestos-coated sources.
  • Provide adequate ventilation by opening windows or using fans.
  • Switch to an environmentally-safe dry cleaner.
  • Add some houseplants.
  • Discourage smoking indoors.
  • Have air ducts cleaned.
  • Have lead-based paint professionally removed.
  • Vent clothes dryers to outdoors.
  • Remove water-damaged carpets.
  • Test basements for radon gas.

Natural Pollutants

Biological contaminants are another type of pollutant that affects the indoor environment. Pet dander, dust mites and other microorganisms that occur naturally can settle in carpets and other fabrics. Bacteria, molds, mildew and insect or rodent droppings are also dangerous. These allergens can trigger allergies and sometimes lead to serious illnesses such as asthma in some people.

Use flooring options like wood, cork, tile, stone or bamboo to reduce the number of allergens in the home. These flooring materials don’t emit fumes or harbor microorganisms and are easier to keep clean than carpeting.

Air purifiers and mechanical ventilation systems can help keep indoor air healthy. They can reduce levels of humidity, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping humidity levels below 30 to 50 percent.

Comments are closed.