How Do I Improve the Air Quality in My Home? - Part 1

Think for a moment about your home. It is where we want to feel safest and most comfortable. There are adages such as “Home Sweet Home”, and “Home is where the heart is”, and they all center on that fact that we want our homes to be a haven, a refuge. Now think a little deeper. When you get right down to it, your home is really a box that has been carved out of the space on this planet that you then fill with your objects, and condition, and occupy. And by “condition” I mean heat, cool, humidify, dehumidify, etc.

What if the air in your home was not conditioned? What if you did not heat it up in the winter, or cool it down in the summer? Would you still think of it as a haven, or a refuge? Having a central heating and air system is an essential part to making a house into your home. And that’s not just true in Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino, but all throughout this country. Now the next question is: Should conditioning the air stop there, with heating and cooling? No, but that is where most people stop. The phrase “air conditioning” has become synonymous with cooling. We even abbreviate it to “AC” and who thinks of anything else but cold air?

Our last post dealt with the topic of why the quality of your indoor air should matter to you. According to Merriam-Webster to condition means “to put into the proper or desired state”. So changing the temperature in your home by heating or cooling it is only one aspect of conditioning it. There is also the issue of the quality of the air. Is it dusty? Is it smelly? Is it fresh? Is it really in the ‘desired state’?

So you’ve decided to improve your indoor air quality. How? The biggest, and most overlooked, factor is Source Control. This is not a brand or appliance or device. This simply refers to taking the steps necessary to decrease or eliminate the causes of indoor air pollution in your home. Let’s examine some of the sources of air pollutants or contaminants that may be in your home, since they will contribute to poor indoor quality:

  • Gas Stoves, Furnaces or Water Heaters - have a professional service company check the vents for proper air draw. Also be sure they check the pipes and fixtures for leaks since such leaks, however small, can create hazardous, potentially deadly, buildups of fumes over time.
  • Cigarette Smoke – Restrict smoking from your home, or at least require that smokers do so near an exhaust fan to keep toxic fumes from building up in your home.
  • Household cleaners – Many common detergents and household cleaning products are full of chemicals that evaporate into the air in your home. Switching to “green” cleaners can reduce such contaminants.
  • Dust – An average home of 1,500 square feet can acquire about 40 pounds of dust per year. And since dust is the primary means for mites, bacteria, viruses and germs to enter your lungs you want to do what you can to control that source of contaminant. Vacuuming and dusting regularly are essential to improving the air quality in your home.

Source control should always be the first step. It is also a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than installing devices or appliances for that purpose since these can increase energy costs.

However, source control is only the first step. What’s next? Ventilation. Stay tuned for an upcoming post that will continue this topic of improving the quality of air in your home.

Have a question that just can’t wait? The folks at GAMA Air are eager to help. Visit our “Ask an Expert” page, fill in the form, and our resident expert will respond quickly.

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