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The word “pollution” typically evokes images of fumes rising from factories and commercial facilities. However, we should be more concerned about another grave problem that plagues our living environments. We are talking about indoor air pollution. And there is no need to beat around the bush: Things are pretty bad.
To be more precise, indoor air pollution tends to be 2-5 times worse than the one outdoors. The good news, though, is that you are not powerless against this home siege. To shield against it, get to know your enemy and where it stems from. Next, you are going to have to employ the right strategies to eliminate or minimize the detrimental effects.
The face of the enemy
Millions of people cook and heat their home using solid fuels, open fires, chimneys, furnaces, and traditional stoves. There is a wide range of health-damaging pollutants that come into existence this way. Some of them can cause serious health issues, injury, and even death. An additional problem is that the city dwellers in developed countries like Australia and the US spend up to 90% of their time indoors, breathing polluted air on a daily basis.
So, it is time to recognize the fact that indoor air quality has a profound impact on our health. The symptoms range from acute to chronic and take both mild and severe form. The key to preserving your health is to uncover the main sources of pollution.
Let us take the example of radon, a highly radioactive gas. It can make its way into your home via the ground beneath it, well water, or building materials. The tricky thing is that it operates in clandestine fashion— it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Moreover, the symptoms are not immediate, even though prolonged inhalation induces lung cancer and ailments.
There are other insidious substances like carbon monoxide that are hard to detect as well. The exposure to them can lead to nausea, headaches, dizziness, lack of coordination and other problems. We should not forget about the notorious VOCs (volatile organic compounds) either. There are many sources you need to be aware of here: cleaning supplies, pesticides, glue, printers, paints, building materials, etc.
Taking active measures
Armed with knowledge, you can start devising ways of turning the tide of battle and dealing with air pollution. In the case of radon, preventive measures do the trick. Namely, you need to test your home for this gas and determine the level of it. So, whenever you suspect such a problem, do an audit to figure out how bad the situation is.
It is recommended to contact trusted environmental consultants. Most homeowners do not hesitate to do this because tests are relatively inexpensive. The price of inaction, on the other hand, is all but. In the United States, the costs of poor indoor air quality amount to billions of dollars. Not to mention fatal cases where the price people pay is the ultimate one.
Furthermore, keep an eye on biological sources of pollution such as pests, insects, mold, and mildew. They are proven to cause eye irritation, fevers, breathing problems and many different diseases. The most efficient strategy to deal with biological menace is to improve the indoor climate. Mold and mildew thrive in high-moisture conditions, so make an effort to reduce the humidity. Inspect the plumbing system for leaks and use exhaust fans and ventilators.
Read more: Ways to reduce indoor air pollution
Clearing the air
In general, improving the air ventilation in the home always goes a long way. It prevents the toxins from getting trapped inside. Besides, the only way to do away with some gases like radon is to vent them out. In other instances, you can make good use of air purification devices. Their effectiveness varies by model, so you might want to opt for high-quality ones. Products with HEPA filters are always a safe bet as they capture most airborne particles.
Few homeowners recognize the value of keeping the HVAC system in top shape, as well as risks (like asthma) that stem from its poor performance. They often rely on professionals who offer maintenance and repair services for air conditioning. Of course, one can also explore other options such as indoor plants. They act as natural air filters, apart from adding a rejuvenating splash of greenery to your home.
And if you are prepared to invest more and go the extra mile, make a transition from solid fuels to clean energy. Solar power generation is one of the most prominent green trends you can consider tapping into. Integrating solar panels may be expensive, but it pays dividends in the long run.
Finally, remember that your habits play an important role. Environmental tobacco smoke is one of the most obvious cases. By not smoking inside, you avoid a variety of toxic chemicals that originate from cigars. Also, make sure to dust, vacuum and clean your home regularly. These chores keep pollutants from accumulating and pests from making your home their hideout. You should also properly maintain your appliances, especially those that are a potential source of carbon monoxide.
Read more: Home air filter buying guide
On the safe side
Indoor air pollutant concentrations often exceed those that exist outdoors – we have our contained areas and toxic products to thank for the buildup and accumulation. So, take action today. Familiarize yourself with what the pollutants are and where they come from.
There is no single factor that threatens your health and well-being, but multiple potential sources. We might not be able to control all of them, but most can be tackled using simple tricks and methods. So, test the waters. Be vigilant and build good habits. Make sure your home is as pollutant-free as possible and gain a peace of mind.
Read more: How to stay top home maintenance