11 Ways to Minimize Indoor Air Pollution
Even though you can’t always see them, the air in your home is full of allergens!
Common sources of indoor air quality problems include mold, dust mites, cockroaches, pollen, pets, and dry air. We humans are pretty resilient, but prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution and high concentrations of allergens will eventually get the best of us. Fortunately, if you take common-sense steps, including properly monitoring and maintaining humidity and temperature, you can help reduce allergy symptoms.
Following is an overview of actions you can take to maintain comfortable and healthy indoor conditions, as well as our recommended solutions for easy home environment monitoring so you can make the invisible visible, and breathe easier.
- Monitor and maintain safe humidity levels: The EPA recommends indoor humidity stays between 30% and 60% to help prevent mold. Dust mites often die when humidity dips below 50%. When household humidity is above 60%, dehumidifiers and/or air conditioning are effective tools for reducing conditions friendly to dust mites and mold. When household humidity is below 30%, humidifiers are effective tools for combating dry air.
AcuRite Product Tip: Try placing AcuRite Room Monitors around your home (ex. bedrooms, living areas, attics, basements, etc.) to measure humidity and temperature conditions.
- Make sure your home is well ventilated: When the temperature and humidity outdoors are conducive to proper indoor conditions, opening windows to bring in fresh outdoor air can reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants.
- Take steps to minimize potential for seepage, leaks and flooding: These can include simple solutions like keeping gutters clean and maintained, and more extensive projects like ensuring the grade of your yard sufficiently directs water away from your home’s foundation, having your basement professionally sealed, repairing an old roof, replacing old appliances, resealing your shower, etc.
- Inspect inside your home to identify potential problem areas: Check for condensation around windows, and measure humidity levels in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and storage rooms. If you find problem areas, take corrective action.
- Clean up water quickly: Since mold grows when water is present, the moment you find moisture, start cleaning it up. Mold typically requires 24-48 hours in a moist environment to grow.
AcuRite Product Tip: Position one or more Water Leak Detectors in areas of potential leaks and flooding (ex. Beneath appliances, sinks, and showers, inside sump pump wells, and on basement or attic floors).
- Identify and mitigate potential sources of indoor air pollution: For example, regularly replace central heat/air filters, inspect stoves, etc.
- Keep your home clean: Many recommend using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, as well as mopping hard floors, and placing floor mats by doors to minimize dirt that enters the house. This will, in turn, help minimize allergy-causing particles in the air.
- Regularly wash bedding: This is a prime place where dust mites can flourish. Hot water and a hot dryer are generally recommended for best results.
- Don’t leave wet clothes laying around: Put your clothes in the dryer as soon as possible after washing them. Same holds true if you’re caught in a rain storm and walk in the door drenched.
- Grow indoor plants: Plants can serve as natural air purifiers, helping you breathe easier.
- Use a Home Environment Display: for convenient viewing of conditions measured by multiple Monitor and Sensors in and around your home. Set alarms on the display for early warning of conditions that are conducive to mold growth:
- High Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity levels exceed the EPA-recommend maximum of 60% RH.
- Low Humidity Alert: Take corrective action if relative humidity levels dip below the EPA-recommend minimum of 30% RH.
- Water Present Alert: Take corrective action to fix leak and remove water before mold has chance to grow.
The following list includes great resources for more information on this topic:
- The Environmental Protection Agency published a helpful guide to mold and moisture in your home: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/moldguide.pdf
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these basic mold facts:
- The Mother Nature Network offers these nine tips to prevent mold: