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Air Pollution: It’s Everywhere, Including Your Home

dusting a duct ventHave you ever come home after work to a stuffy, stagnant house? If you leave your windows closed during your workday, you are keeping the same air in your home all day. In the age of air conditioning and insulation, the classic saying “home is where the heart is” is no longer true. Homes are where recycled air, pollution, dust, and bacteria manifest. These pollutants may not be visible to the naked eye, but their short and long-term effects on your health prove their ever-present existence.

So, what can you do to ensure your home is as clean and safe as possible? The solutions are simpler than you may think.

Ventilate Your Home

One way to keep the air in your home clean is to increase fresh air intake. In California we are lucky to have beautiful, near perfect weather year-round, so for many homeowners, this may be the easiest solution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites three ways that outside air can enter and exit your home: infiltration, natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. Infiltration occurs when air flows naturally through small openings in your home. Very little fresh air enters the home through this process, so it is important to practice the process of natural ventilation, in which air enters through open doors and windows. Mechanical ventilation, in contrast to the other two processes, requires the use of a fan or other air system that facilitates the removal of indoor air in exchange for fresh outdoor air. Whatever ventilation method you choose, your home is guaranteed to be cleaner and safer with the influx of fresh air.

Be Aware of the Signs and Symptoms of Irritation

As previously mentioned, the pollution present in your home is likely not visible, however your body will react to the pollution in many different ways. Some immediate reactions you or your family may experience are nose, throat, and eye irritation, fatigue, and headaches. These symptoms may become intensified if you or a loved one suffers from asthma, pneumonitis, or other respiratory ailments. Sometimes, the distress your body is experiencing due to air pollution may be mistaken for a cold, which further masks the problem of air pollution in your home and can result in unnecessary treatment. Eradicating air pollution from your home will allow you and your family to be healthier and happier in the long run.

cleaning the stoveBe Cognizant about Cleaning Your Home

We all have a designated cleaning day in our home. Dusting, vacuuming, and doing laundry are probably on your list of things to do, but at the end of the day, is your house really clean? For example, using a standard feather duster or a plain rag to dust just spreads the dust around your home. For more effective dusting, try using a dusting spray to trap and eradicate dust. Vacuuming your floors is an important way to keep your home clean as your carpet can trap dirt quite effectively. Look into investing in a new, well-filtered vacuum in order to eliminate any dust or dirt from escaping while you vacuum or when you try to power your vacuum on or off. Furthermore, a newer vacuum will prevent any unexpected bag overflows in your home. Finally, washing clothes and sheets more often will decrease the amount of dirt, bed bugs, and dust mites in your home. Try to group clothes and sheets together to limit the number of wash and dry cycles.

Dealing with the Heat

Don’t suffer through another summer of sky-high electricity charges.If an overworked or an under-maintained air conditioning unit is to blame, take these hints and get a grip on that utility bill.

Make sure that your filter is clean.Many people think that changing the filter or cleaning it twice a year is plenty of protection, but the filter should be checked once a month.If dust is apparent on the filter, it is time to change it.A dirty filter means that dirt is sifting through into the system and a dirty system requires more energy to work.
If your home is on two levels, make sure the upper level vents are wide open and the lower-level vents are slightly closed.Shutting them completely can stifle proper air-flow and harm the system.Heat rises, and limiting the intake on the lower floor will ensure that your home receives equal cooling distribution.
Check that your air conditioners fan is in the “on” position instead of on “auto”.This will improve air circulation and will allow you to be comfortable at a higher room temperature.
Keep curtains drawn against the summer sunshine.The sun beating through the window may brighten the room, but it plays havoc with the utility bill and sends electricity charges through the roof.
Get your A/C system cleaned and checked by a professional HVAC technician.This will improve your systems operations and the technician can spot potential problems before they cause a mid-summer breakdown.
Be a cool operator this summer.Use these tips in the name of “going green” or because you want to maintain a level of comfort while you save.Either way, using these tips will help you maintain your cool while you keep the electric bill under budget.