Common Indoor Pollutants
You can’t exactly what we’re breathing in while we’re outside, but you can control the air you’re breathing in your home. However, you may not have considered the effect everyday items like candles may have on your breathing. We’ve compiled a list of ways to create a better environment for your family and pets.
Candles used to be the only way humans could see at night, but since the birth of electricity (unless there’s a storm) candles are essentially something we use to make our homes warm and cozy. But are they creating breathing problems instead? According to the EPA, “Burning candles and incense can be sources of particulate matter. Burning candles with lead-core wicks may result in indoor air concentration of lead above EPA-recommended thresholds. Exposure to incense smoke has been linked with several illnesses, and certain brands of incense also contain chemicals suspected of causing skin irritation.
Don’t worry, your candle burning days don’t have to be over because luckily there are safer alternatives out there, specifically candles made with beeswax.
According to the CPSV, “Pollutants from fireplaces and woodstoves with no dedicated outdoor air supply can be "back-drafted" from the chimney into the living space, particularly in weatherized homes.
In other words, if you’re going to light your fireplace make sure the chimney has been cleaned and there is plenty of ventilation in your home. Fire creates a lot of soot or ash, you don’t want that creeping into your lungs. We recommend burning ECO Bricks instead of freshly cut wood when you want to cozy up to your fireplace during the cold winter months. The compressed sawdust and woodchips burn hotter, last longer and don’t produce as much smoke as ordinary wood does.
Fresh Paint, Gas Stoves and Unseen Allergens
Whether you’re creating an art project or giving your house a facelift, always make sure to provide yourself with plenty of natural ventilation which can also improve indoor air quality by reducing pollutants that live indoors. Open the windows when the weather permits and be sure to keep your house clean of dust, mites, and other allergens which can easily creep into your lungs.
The American Lung Association recommends using hardwood floors in your home opposed to carpet. Carpet can build up pollutants when they get trapped in the fibers of the carpet. If you have carpet in your home be sure to vacuum at least three times per week and that the kitchen, entryways, and hallways are carpet free. These areas are especially notorious for picking up mildew and mold.
If you can’t live without the cozy fuzzy on your feet, the American Lung Association recommends to “choose a carpet that releases fewer VOC emissions and request the carpet is unrolled and aired out in a well-ventilated area for 72 hours before installation. Request glues that are non-toxic and low VOC.”
Torn Ductwork in Attic or Crawl Space
Torn ductwork can severely affect the air quality in your home. If you own an older home we recommend checking the ductwork as it begins to disintegrate after 30-35 years. If it is rigid, Engineered Comfort Specialist can come out to your home to inspect the ductwork and check to see if it needs to be sealed. Installing Air Scrubber UV lights attached in the supply duct will help to eliminate debris from your home.
In addition to UV lights, oil diffusers, air purifying plants and changing your filters regularly will also improve your home’s air quality. Give us a call today to examine ductwork, install UV lights or inspect your filters. Happy breathing!