News & FAQ

Breathe Easy: How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

3/12/2015

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Breathe in. Breathe out. Ah, calming, right? Since it can’t be seen by the human eye, we don’t often think about the quality of the air we breathe. Although we can’t see the harmful contaminants in the air, they do exist and we feel their effects. Poor indoor air quality can be the culprit of asthma, frequent headaches, nasal congestion, and many other health issues.

The quality of the air we breathe is determined by our surroundings. We can all agree that air is everywhere (duh!), but don’t let that make improving the quality of the air you breathe seem like a daunting process.

First ask yourself, “Where am I spending most of my time?” With life being as fast-paced and hectic as it is, you might be unsure of where you spend the majority of your time. However, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that a person spends on average 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations (Wow!).

While it may take generations to improve the quality of our outdoor air, it only takes determination, persistence, and a licensed, trained indoor air quality expert to improve the quality of your indoor air. Let’s start by clarifying exactly what an indoor air pollutant is.

  • Molds
  • Pollen
  • Dander from Pet Fur
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fumes Emitted by Imported Drywall
  • Carbon Monoxide that Comes from Burning Propane, Other Gases and Fuels, and Charcoal
  • Household Products Such as Cleaners and Pesticides

Pollutants vary, but this at least gives you a basic idea of what the perpetrators of poor indoor air quality are. If you have a pet, especially one that constantly sheds fur, but only sweep and vacuum once a month (for some, that’s a generous timeline!) then you’re only letting pollutants fester.

So what can I do to improve my indoor air quality?

Excellent question! Breathing cleaner air takes work – hard work, but it isn’t impossible. The first step to breathing cleaner air is scheduling an appointment with a licensed, trained indoor air quality expert. You need a seasoned technician who genuinely cares about your health and, of course, the environment. By improving the quality of the air you breathe, you’ll be able to minimize asthma attacks, headaches, and nausea while also lessening the chances of suffering from heart disease, respiratory disease, and cancer.

How to improve the air you breathe:

  • Clean your home often and with environmentally friendly products.
  • Open windows or run air conditioning systems to let fresh air in.
  • Keep mold away by repairing water leaks promptly.
  • Minimize the use of bug spray and only use outside.
  • Never smoke indoors.
  • When cleaning mold, use detergent and water or a mix of no more than 1 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water. Do not use mix bleach with ammonia.
  • If you smell gas, leave the building immediately. Do not light any flames or sparks.
  • Check and/or change your HVAC air filters every 30 days.
  • Adjust the humidity to be between 30 and 50%.
  • Don’t let pets in the bedroom or on soft furniture.
  • Seal up air leaks in your home and air ducts.

Humidification

A neglected in-duct humidifier can breed mildew and bacteria, not to mention add too much moisture to a house. A common mistake with humidifiers is leaving them on after the heating season ends. Don’t forget to pull the plug, shut the water valve and drain the unit. A unit with a water reservoir should be drained and cleaned with white vinegar, a mix of one part chlorine bleach to eight parts water or muriatic acid. Mist-type humidifiers also require regular cleaning to remove mineral deposits.

Duct Cleaning

You may also need a good duct cleaning. Dust, dirt, and moisture will create a breeding ground for allergy-inducing molds, mites, and bacteria. To find out if you have huge dust bunnies in your air duct system contributing to your allergies and sickness, simply open up a couple of vents and registers and stick a flash camera in there. Take a couple of pictures and take a look. Clean ducts also lessen the workload of your HVAC system, decreasing energy costs and the need for repairs.

Duct Cleaning does get rid of the stuff that mold and bacteria grow on, and that means less of it gets airborne, a boon to allergy sufferers.

Service Legends is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)*

*NADCA’s mission is to represent qualified companies engaged in the inspection, maintenance and restoration of HVAC systems, promote source removal as the only acceptable method of cleaning, establish industry standards for the association, and assist NADCA members in providing high-quality service to their customers.


Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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