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11 Things You Do That Pollute Your Home’s Air

September 24, 2013

We’ve written before about the importance of indoor air quality, and how your home could be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air.

But did you know that there are several activities you do that can actually make this problem worse?

There are. And while they may seem small and harmless on the surface, they can contribute to your home’s overall air quality problem.

Here are eleven things you’re doing that are polluting your home’s air.

Keeping your windows shut all the time

Modern Sarasota homes are sealed tight. That’s good for energy efficiency but bad for air quality. One of the best ways to fight indoor air pollution is to open up your windows and let in some fresh air. Do this regularly, especially after a good rain, for the freshest air.

Ignoring the bathroom vent fan while showering

That bathroom fan isn’t just there to confuse you about which switch is the one for the bathroom light. It’s designed to remove humidity that enters your bathroom from a hot shower. If you don’t use the fan, the humidity stays in the bathroom and can cause mold and mildew growth.

Not using the kitchen vent fan while cooking

The fan above your stove is equally important. Lots of indoor air pollutants are introduced to your home’s air when cooking. Use the fan to make sure they are blown outside instead of into your home.

Not cleaning your home

Dusting and vacuuming your home are great ways to remove dirt, dust, and other contaminants from your home’s air. For best results, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter so you’re not just blowing dirt around.

Air conditioning your home

The coils in your air conditioner are in a dark and moist environment. If not regularly cleaned by a professional, they can be a great breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other harmful contaminants. You can also install a UV light to help kill these contaminants.

Burning candles

Burning a scented candle may make your home smell nice and clean, but it’s actually introducing a number of airborne pollutants. One study found that, when burned, most common candles release chemicals linked to cancer.

Using aerosol spray air fresheners

Don’t believe the commercials. Aerosol spray cleaners don’t actually clean your home’s air, they add more pollutants to it that simply cover up smells. The NRDC concluded in a study that many common air fresheners contain “chemicals called phthalates that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems.”

Not changing your air filter

Whether you have a basic air filter for your air conditioning system or have upgraded it to improve your home’s air quality, forgetting to regularly change or clean it can create a breeding ground for more indoor air pollution.

Storing cleaning products in your home

Many common household cleaners release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) even when in storage. Therefore, rather than storing your cleaners in your home under your sink, you should keep them outside or in the garage.

Painting the inside of your home

Repainting a wall or two in your home may seem harmless enough, but many paints actually release chemicals as they’re drying. Look for low-VOC paints and ventilate your home (open the windows) for a few days after a new coat of paint is applied.

Idling the car in the garage

All of us are guilty of this at some time or another, but letting your car run while in the garage can trap dangerous and harmful pollutants from your car in your home. Don’t turn on your vehicle until you are ready to drive out of the garage.

Now that you know some of the bad habits that contribute to your home’s poor indoor air quality, you can avoid them. For more information on keeping your home’s air clean and healthy, check out the EPA’s guide to improving indoor air quality or contact Cool Today with any questions.

Posted in: Tips

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