Three Ways You Are Killing Your Indoor Air Quality
The air you’re breathing is probably not as clean as you think. In fact, indoor air quality is typically far worse than most homeowners realize. Hidden odors, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, and so many other issues can be found in the average home, and the worst part is most people don’t realize that their behavior could very well be contributing to these issues. In fact, our lifestyle is generally the biggest contributor to the poor-quality air found in our homes—more so than outdoor air pollution, weather conditions, and more.
In this blog, our goal is to help you learn about three surprising ways that you could accidentally be killing your indoor air quality and learn about how you can improve them going forward.
Owning a Pet
Believe it or not, one of the things that could be seriously hindering your indoor air quality is the presence of a furry pet like a dog or a cat. Animals carry dander, and dander is a heavy trigger for allergy symptoms, asthma, and more. They also leave odors in fabrics like upholstery, window treatments, and rugs and carpets. In fact, pet urine has been known to release fumes that can stick to other fabrics, making the odor even more difficult to get rid of due to an ability to linger.
Is this to say you shouldn’t own a pet? Absolutely not! Pets are beneficial in so many ways and bring joy, purpose, and friendship. However, it’s important to know what pets do to your home and to actively work to reverse what they can do to your air quality. You might want to consider investing in an active air purification system that can help remove dander and odors from the air, and you should also make sure you regularly vacuum and dust your home to remove any dander that may have settled in the fibers. Likewise, regular bathing (no matter how much our friends may not like it), can make a huge difference with odor problems and with lingering dander in the air.
Keeping Doors & Windows Closed
Today’s homes are remarkably energy-efficient. This is great because energy is costly, and producing it can be hard on our climate. Using less energy has many benefits, but one of the downsides to energy efficiency is that it often means our homes are sealed up tight to prevent unwanted heat transfer and air loss. Keeping doors and windows closed may keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but it means you aren’t exchanging the air in your home for fresher air from outside, and that means problems can begin to fester and linger.
Issues like household odors, stale air, and even increased presence of allergens are all common during the peak of extreme temperature seasons. The solution to this problem is simple: open your doors and windows. Opening up and improving ventilation for even 20 minutes a day can make a remarkable difference when it comes to negating or eliminating odors, making your home feel fresher, eliminating dust and dander, and even improving your overall health. During winter, we advise doing this during the heat of the day, when temperatures are at their warmest. During summer, do so during cooler evening hours when you may not even need to run your air conditioner at all. This will save you money by minimizing energy loss and make you feel so much better about the air you’re breathing.
Cooking Greasy or Odor-Loaded Foods
Have you ever noticed that the top of your fume hood feels greasy, sticky, and gross? If you haven’t cleaned it in several months, particularly after preparing a good amount of greasy foods like bacon or other meats, then there is probably an easily identifiable and unmistakable film of nastiness that has accumulated over time. This is because water isn’t the only thing that can evaporate into the air—oils can too. When they are properly heated, such as during cooking, oils can enter the air in your home, contributing to a variety of issues.
Odors are perhaps the biggest problem with these foods, but they can also trigger health problems, particularly respiratory issues. Not to mention any oil that is hot enough to evaporate probably is hot enough to burn, and this releases odorous smoke particles into the air. These odors linger for quite a long time, and are extremely difficult to get out of your carpet and fabrics. If you are going to prepare these foods, run your exhaust fan to extract as many odor and smoke particles as possible.