With spring here and summer on it’s way, you’re probably looking forward to spending more time outside and getting out of the house to enjoy the weather and outdoor activities. However, we still spend a significant amount of our time indoors and the warmer months in Wisconsin can bring more humidity and increased amounts of pollen, dust, and allergens which can linger and circulate throughout your home.
In fact, a study by the EPA found that indoor air is on average 2-5 times more polluted than air outside. These indoor contaminants are derived from a variety of sources and can cause health and breathing problems along with reduced cognitive function. While this affects everyone in the home, children are the most vulnerable. Children inhale more pollutants per pound of body weight than adults and have less developed immune systems than adults which can make them more susceptible to indoor containments and illnesses.
To help boost your home’s indoor air quality, here are 6 simple ways to improve air quality and minimize containments for a fresh and healthy home:
1.) Monitor Indoor Humidity Levels
Dust mites and mold love moisture, so it’s vital to keep your home’s humidity level between 30-50% which prevents mold growth and limits moisture buildup. To help decrease humidity, you can use a dehumidifier, or turn on the air conditioning.
However, even dry air and humidity levels below 30% (more common during Wisconsin’s cooler months) can cause issues for you and your family such as: dry skin and hair, chapped lips, scratchy throats and itching. Making everyone in the home uncomfortable and more susceptible to colds and respiratory illnesses.
*Every home built with Anderson Homes comes standard with a humidifier to help control humidity levels, prevent dry air, and improve home comfort.
2.) Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
An energy recovery ventilator or ERV allows fresh air to enter the home (through a filter) while retaining the pre-conditioned temperature of the existing indoor air.
Air inside the home is exchanged for air outside, traveling in opposite directions and remaining separated. During the exchange, the temperature of the outgoing air is transferred to the incoming air. This process also needs less energy to heat or cool the new air since its pre-conditioned when coming into the home, saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
By using an energy recovery ventilator, you’re able to remove dust, pollen, and allergens from the air, maintain your desired humidity level, and recycle stale air from the house to quickly remove lingering odors from rooms like your kitchen and bathroom to improve the comfort, smell, and health of your home.
*Anderson Homes includes an energy recovery ventilator in every home as standard to provide fresh and clean air.
3.) UV Germicidal Light Air Purifier
Ultraviolet lights can also be used to help improve the air quality of your home. These units emit UV-C light and are placed inside the HVAC trunk above the furnace to deactivate airborne and surface contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and viruses. This helps circulate clean air throughout your house that is safer and healthier while also removing odors caused by pets, cooking, and other sources.
*Honeywell UV2400 UV Light – An optional product we include in our homes that help remove odors, airborne contaminants & other harmful bacteria.
4.) Limit Synthetic Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances are common in many household products such as: air fresheners, perfumes, cleaners, and other aerosol spray products that emit gases, chemicals, and other harmful particles that get absorbed into the air releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
You can improve your air quality by eliminating the use of aerosol spray products and choosing fragrance-free products, or alternative products with natural scents, some alternative products include: baking soda, lemon wedges, beeswax candles, salt lamps, scented pine cones, potpourri, and other natural products.
5.) House Plants
While a few common household plants may trigger allergies, collect mold, or contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many plants help to scrub the air of pollutants and do more to improve your homes air quality.
When researchers at NASA studied ways to clean the air in space stations, they found that some plants are more effective than others at cleaning the air, removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air – chemicals that have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation. From this study, NASA recommends having at least one plant per 100 square feet of home space to see an improvement in air quality.
Listed below are the plants they found most effective at cleansing the air:
– Bamboo palm, Chamaedorea seifritzii
– Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema modestum
– English ivy, Hedera helix
– Gerbera daisy, Gerbera jamesonii
– Janet Craig, Dracaena “Janet Craig”
– Marginata, Dracaena marginata
– Mass cane/Corn plant, Dracaena massangeana
– Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sansevieria laurentii
– Pot mum, Chrysantheium morifolium
– Peace lily, Spathiphyllum
– Warneckii, Dracaena “Warneckii”
6.) Regular Home Cleaning
A simple way to help keep your home’s air fresh and healthy is by regular cleaning and dusting. This includes regularly washing sheets, bedding, and other fabrics to minimize dust mites. Cleaning or replacing filters in your home that clean the air, using green and eco-friendly cleaning products, mopping floors (microfiber mop), and vacuuming carpets with a vacuum that has a strong suction and has a HEPA filter which helps remove pollen, pet dander, and other allergens from the air.
Live Better With Clean Air
At Anderson Homes, we value the importance of indoor air quality and the impact it has on the health and comfort of your family. It’s an issue that few other home builders spend time explaining or educating their customers with, but we feel it’s important to cover since we spend a significant amount of our time indoors and it’s especially important when young kids are in the home.
Your comfort, safety, and satisfaction is our highest priority at Anderson Homes. We’re always striving to improve the customer experience, offering resources and other alternative solutions to improve you and your family’s quality of life.
Have a question about home air quality or would like to talk with us further about your home? Contact us for more information.