You want your home to provide a safe haven from all the pollution you encounter outdoors, but this isn't always the case. Following are four potentially dangerous sources of indoor air pollution that you should eliminate immediately.
Gas appliances, such as clothes dryers and ovens, emit carbon monoxide while they are running. If your appliances aren't properly installed and maintained, they produce even more carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous for your health.
Other sources of carbon monoxide include fireplaces, cigarette smoke, and furnaces. To reduce the amount of carbon monoxide in your home:
- Hire a professional to evaluate your home appliances and HVAC system
- Open your flue whenever you use the fireplace
- Vent rooms while running a kerosene-fueled space heater
Additionally, while you probably know you shouldn't run your car in the garage without ventilation, the same applies for other machines that use an internal combustion engine. For example, never start your lawn mower or pressure washer in your garage unless the door is open.
2. Furniture & Carpet
Most people take their beds for granted, but proper maintenance is required to create a healthy place to sleep. For example, experts recommend replacing your pillow twice a year and washing your bedding every two weeks.
Dust mites and bacteria thrive on linens and textiles, increasing indoor air pollution as well as the potential for illness. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you might want to wash your bedding even more frequently to avoid respiratory irritation.
In fact, all of your furniture and textiles can create indoor air pollution. Carpets, for example, not only trap allergens in their fibers, but also release harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process, such as glue and dyes. To reduce this problem:
- Vacuum carpets at least once every week
- Shampoo carpets every three months
- Replace carpets with hard flooring, such as wood or tile
When you see a colony of ants forming under the kitchen sink or a roach scurrying behind the toilet tank, you reach for the pesticides. While this strategy might eliminate the creepy-crawlies in your home, it also increases indoor air pollution.
The chemicals used to kill insects are also harmful to the human respiratory system. To reduce the potential health consequences of using pesticides:
- Open windows and doors while applying chemicals
- Use chemical-free pesticides whenever possible
- Store pesticides outside (in the garage or a storage shed, for example)
- Dilute chemicals when appropriate
Indoor air pollution sometimes creates an ongoing battle. If you notice that you suffer from respiratory problems only while at home, consult with an HVAC expert, such as Confort Expert, to determine whether your furnace, air conditioner, or other household appliances might be causing the problem.