Plan Your Indoor Air Quality Project Carefully
Whether you live in an old home or newer home, there are many ways to protect and improve your indoor air quality. For example, the following information helps any homeowner protect the indoor air quality in their home. As a result, these steps prevent problems during remodels, renovations or when building a new home.
Concerns About Carbon Monoxide
First, install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
- Change the batteries in existing CO and smoke detectors.
- CO Alarms with a digital readout will inform homeowners of low level CO concentrations in the home
Concerns About Asthma
Next, identify and reduce asthma triggers.
- Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. For example, triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an episode or attack or make asthma worse. As a result, if you have asthma, you may react to just one trigger or you may find that several things act as triggers.
- Be sure to work with a doctor to identify triggers and develop a treatment plan that includes ways to reduce exposures to your asthma triggers. Examples of possible asthma triggers include:
- Indoor relative humidity levels above 45% relative humidity or below 30% (especially during the winter)
- Excessive dust and pet dander concentrations (hard flooring is easier to keep dust and dander free than carpets)
- Poor insulation and air sealing can increase the opportunity for condensation, mildew and mold growth
- Exhaust fans vented into attics or crawl spaces can cause mildew and mold growth
- Unkept indoor environments can provide food sources for insects and rodents
Concerns About Mold
The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture levels and leaks in your home. For example, prevent mold by maintaining indoor relative humidity levels between 30% and 45% RH. Additionally, use exhaust fans that vent directly to the outside. Finally, insulate and air seal your home, which eliminates cold surfaces that cause condensation and mold growth. Make sure your roof has no leaks and crawl spaces and basements do not have excessive moisture levels.
Concerns About Radon
Test for radon. For example, high levels of radon can be reduced by working with a qualified contractor to install a radon sub-slab venting or depressurization system.
Concerns About Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
Find out if products to be used or stored in your home contain VOCs. For products containing VOC’s, use in well-ventilated areas.
In general, air cleaning devices, when used and maintained properly, help remove pollutants from the indoor air of your home. Plus, different types of filtration devices filter different pollutants so make sure you select the correct type for your home.
Additionally, use and properly maintain your exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. Verify that all exhaust fans, including dryers, vent directly to the outside (and not into attics, crawl spaces or garages).
Finally, always keep your home and car smoke-free!