In honor of the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Month, here are some tips to improve your home’s indoor air quality.
1. KNOW IF YOUR HOME HAS RADON
Radon is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that is very dangerous. There has been many studies that prove radon can cause lung cancer, among many other types of cancers.
Radon testing is best done during inspection when the test can be conducted without disruption. A radon test will be an additional cost but well worth, but is one of the most important tests you can do before closing on your home. If your home is high in radon, a professional will be able install a ventilation system or another removal system to mitigate the risk of radon.
2. MAKE YOUR HOME A “NO SMOKE ZONE”
Smoking in your home is particularly lethal to your lungs, as the enclosed space keeps cigarette chemicals and toxins in the air for a prolonged amount of time. Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to the toxins from cigarettes and second-hand smoke, putting them at high-risk for developing lung and other cancers.
If you or a frequent visitor smokes, designate the inside of your home as a “smoke free” zone and require smokers to smoke outdoors.
3. PROPERLY VENT APPLIANCES AND CHIMNEYS
If your appliances and chimneys do not have a clear vent to the outside, dangerous pollution can build up inside your home and carbon monoxide can rise to dangerous levels.
Every year, hire a professional to sweep your chimneys and to check on your dryer, kitchen, and bathroom vents in order to prevent polluting your home’s air and carbon monoxide build up.
4. CONTROL HUMIDITY AND MOLD
Mold can often hide behind walls or appliances and cause a number of lung and other health issues. According to the American Lung Association, your household humidity should be under 50%.
You can check your home’s humidity by purchasing an indoor humidity sensor, and you can mitigate humidity by ensuring your home is properly ventilated and by using dehumidifiers.
5. STORE CHEMICALS PROPERLY
An often overlooked danger to your home’s indoor air quality is building materials, such as plywood, paint, and solvents. All of these materials contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and other poisonous chemicals which can impact your lungs.
It is best to air out these products before use and to store these products outside, away from you home (in a shed or other outdoor structure) or in a well-ventilated storage space in your home. During a renovation, be sure the space is well ventilated during and after the materials are in use.