When was the last time you walked inside your home, took a deep breath, and immediately began worrying if the air in your home was toxic?
If you are like most homeowners today, you probably answered, "Never." Air quality is something we read about in our daily online news digests or perhaps ponder on Ozone Action Day. For most people, thinking about indoor air quality on a daily basis just isn't something that gets done.
But what if you learned that, on average, the indoor air most of us breathe is up to 5 times more toxic than the air right outside the front door? Yikes! Unfortunately, this is a true statement, and it is getting truer every day in cities all around the world.
Happily, there is one appliance that can stand between you and airborne toxins that attempt to enter your home. It is your HVAC unit—your air conditioning and heating system. In this post, learn 8 key ways to make sure your HVAC unit can do its job to keep your indoor air clean and pure.
Tip #1: Change your air filters regularly
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average adult breathes in around 3,000 gallons of air each day—and children breathe in even more than that. If the air is full of toxins, the damage can be mild and temporary at first, but over time it can become severe and permanent.
Your HVAC unit's first-pass defence against airborne toxins is also one of its simplest and least expensive components: the air filter. Simply by changing your air filter each month, you keep dangerous toxins out of your indoor air.
You may also want to consider using portable or central HEPA-certified filters, which filter out 99.97 percent of airborne particulates sized 0.3 µm or larger. As well, having your air duct system professionally cleaned will remove stashed dust and toxins so they are gone from your indoor air supply forever.
Tip #2: Get an air quality inspection
Canada's Healthy Living website recommends that every homeowner get an indoor air quality inspection. In particular, this recommendation includes testing for radon and carbon monoxide, two of the deadliest airborne toxins.
Testing your indoor air quality gives you actionable information to work from to clean up and purify the indoor air you and your family are breathing.
Tip #3: Install a carbon monoxide alarm
Many airborne toxins can't help but announce their presence through unpleasant odors. But carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and deadly. The only way to know if your air is polluted with carbon monoxide is to install a monitoring alarm that will go off to alert you.
CBC News calls carbon monoxide the "silent killer" for this very reason. If you don't have an alarm installed in your home already, it is worth a phone call today to get this taken care of. It is also your legal obligation to do so. Not having a CO2 detector in Ontario can result in a fine of up to $50,000.
Tip #4: Improve the ventilation in your home
Ventilation is all about air circulation. A similar analogy is the difference between a pond and a river. A pond has no new water coming in, so over time the water can get stagnant and filled with algae and bacteria. A river, on the other hand, is constantly flowing with fresh, new water, so the water stays pure and clear.
By improving the ventilation in your home, you achieve the same for your indoor air quality. You can do this in a number of ways:
Open windows and doors when it is nice weather.
Ventilate well while doing crafts or home improvement projects.
Use ceiling or floor fans to keep air moving.
Keep an open perimeter around the edges of each room to let the air flow freely.
Tip #5: Control the levels of humidity inside
On average, your indoor air should include between 30 and 50 percent humidity. With too little humidity, you may experience nosebleeds, allergy symptoms, and other discomforts from air that is too dry. With too much humidity, you run the risk of encouraging mould and mildew to grow inside your home, each of which can cause their own particular health issues (as well as pricey cleanup services).
By using humidifiers and dehumidifiers appropriately as the seasons dictate, you can ensure your indoor air humidity levels stay healthy and balanced. An HVAC system inspection and maintenance tune-up can also ensure your HVAC unit can do its best work to keep your indoor air humidity levels healthy and balanced.
Tip #6: Use safe, non-toxic cleaning products
By opting for safe, non-toxic cleaning alternatives such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and plain water, you free your indoor air from powerful toxins present in harsh commercial cleaning products.
Tip #7: Don't smoke indoors or use commercial air fresheners
Smoke is one of the number one toxins present in indoor air today. People who don't smoke inside the home still bring in second-hand smoke carcinogens on their clothing and in their hair.
As well, many cleaning products that smell great are actually made up of potent and toxic chemical cocktails with long unpronounceable names. These chemicals are now known to cause cancer, lung disease, and asthma attacks, among other undesirable side effects.
Tip #8: Clean your mattresses and dryer vents
Finally, dust mites, dust, pollen, and pet dander and hair concentrate in particularly high levels in mattresses and dryer vents. In this way, they get removed and then re-added during weekly wash and use cycles. If you've ever wondered why your allergies seem to get worse at night, this is why!
Having your mattresses and dryer vents professionally cleaned is a great way to remove the toxins at the source.
Contact Campeau Heating at 705-560-2441 or online to find out how we can help you clean and purify your indoor air.