Air Pollution

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality with These Simple Tips

When it comes to protecting your family’s health, we all want to take it seriously. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has news that may surprise you –the air quality in your house can be more contaminated than the air outside, even in big cities where there is more pollution!

Studies show that most Americans spend nearly 90% of their lives indoors. While you’re there, do you want to be breathing in air that’s just as dirty as the air outside? Of course not! It’s your home, it’s your air quality, it’s your lungs.

But don’t fret as there are steps that you can take to improve the air quality within your home.

Knowing Your Invisible Enemies

The first step to improving the air quality in your home is to determine what pollutants are causing potential serious damage to your health. The Environmental Protection Agency says these indoor pollutants can be classified into three categories:

  1. Combustion Pollutants: Common combustion pollutants include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These colorless and odorless gases originate from burning objects that are incorrectly vented or not vented at all. The type and number of pollutants created depends on the installation, maintenance, and ventilation of the appliance, as well as the type of fuel it utilizes.
  2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): These organic chemicals disseminate as gases that came from particular solid or liquid materials which most likely are the household products you often use.
  3. Triggers to Asthma and Other Allergies: You may not know it, but your home may be host to a culture of dust mites on your blankets, pillows, or stuffed toys, mold on shower curtains, and cat or dog hair all over floors or upholstery which can trigger nasty allergy or complications due to asthma.

Limit Your Exposure

Now that you know your invisible enemies, it is time that you drastically cut down your exposure to it.

  • Let fresh air come inside and ventilate your home by opening your windows as often as possible.
  • Change or clean air filters regularly –especially the ones from your air purifier, furnace or heater, vacuum, and air conditioner.
  • Humidity levels are important in controlling the growth of mold and mildew. Set up your home’s humidity level to an ideal 45%. A humidity level below 30% is too dry while over 50% can make your home too moist making it an open breeding ground for molds. You may want to use a humidifier or a room vaporizer to increase the humidity in your home. To decrease it, open your windows, use your fan, dehumidifier, or air conditioner.
  • Go natural with DIY air fresheners and avoid synthetic ones that emit damaging chemicals or hormone disruptors.
  • Use a HEPA air purifier that doesn’t generate ozone and eliminates VOCs from furniture, paint, or cleaning materials.
  • Go green by planting green plants in your home, particularly those from a list supplied by your friends at NASA. These can help lessen VOCs and enhance the air quality of your home.
  • Set a regular grooming schedule for your pets.
  • When painting your home, only use the kind that has low or no VOC and always pick non-toxic adhesive, finishes, and varnishes as much as possible

Be Clean, Be Smart.

To improve the air quality in your home, how you clean and what you use to clean really matters.

Reduce Dust and Pollutants

A high-performance vacuum with powerful suction, HEPA filters, and rotating brushes can be a very good investment as it catches tiny particles that regular vacuums often miss. Do this once a week and make sure to regularly wash or change your vacuum filter. If you don’t have time for regular vacuuming, consider an automatic vacuum that does the job for you.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the tops of window frames, doors, and sills, and wash your curtains often. You may buy a reusable microfiber dust mop to reach nooks and crannies that vacuum could not.

Use quality mattress, pillow, and box spring covers that are dust-mite-proof.

And to prevent against the growth of mold, of which spores can be toxic, use environmentally-friendly materials when cleaning your shower and regrout your tiles if needed.

Stop Using Aerosols

The use of aerosols has long been believed to harm the environment, as well, and it does. Most fragranced products are derived from petroleum products which are non-renewable, polluting resources.

Products such as air freshener, deodorant spray, furniture polish, hair spray and carpet cleaner all contain artificial fragrances that often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are considered toxic or hazardous. And all the product label has to state is that the product contains “fragrances,” so you’ll never know when there is actually a deadly chemical hidden in there.

Releasing them into the air causes an irreversible negative effect on the environment.

So what can you do? Stop using aerosol products. Opt, again, for homemade products to replace them using all-natural ingredients, or choose fragrance-free products.

 Let the Outdoors In

Open a window in your house! Letting in some fresh air will not only combat the potentially deadly pollutants that have been emitted into the air in your home unknowingly, but it can be a natural way to cool your home during warmer months, too.

Depending on where you live (cities and highly populated areas tend to have poorer air quality than the suburbs and open country spaces), the air quality outside may actually be better than that inside your home. The fresh air can help clear out the polluted air that you’re breathing indoors.

And if it tends to heat up quickly in your home, instead of turning on the air conditioning immediately when it warms up outside, try opening the windows for a natural breeze to flow throughout your home to cool it off. You’ll save tons of energy this way and it’s really an effective cooling technique (assuming you get a good air flow). Check out the Quiet Cool Whole House Fans for AC alternatives to cooling and fresh air options

Decorate With Plants

Just as plants outside filter the air we breathe, indoor plants can help improve the air quality within your home, as well.

Decorate using strategically placed air-filtering house plants throughout your home. They have capabilities of filtering out any pollutants that may be in the air in your home and return to you clean, breathable air.

House plants are also said to have an effect on mood and the general feeling of overall well-being. The bottom line: plants are good for you and good for the environment on all levels, so adding them to your home will only help improve your life and the air that you breathe!

TEST FOR RADON

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The EPA says that radon moves up from the ground into homes through cracks and holes in the foundation. It is estimated that one in fifteen homes in the U.S. have elevated radon levels.

The health risks from living with radon stem from breathing radioactive particles that become trapped in the lungs and can result in tissue damage, which can lead to lung cancer over a lifetime. However, not everyone exposed to higher levels of radon will develop lung cancer.

The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend indoor air quality testing for radon in all homes below the third floor

The EPA recommends taking a test as the first step. If you find that your radon level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or greater on a regular basis then fixing your home would be the next step by adding a Radon mitigation system.

There are many proven methods to reduce the radon level in your home, and the primary way is by using a vent pipe system and fan. The cost will depend on your home, but for most, it can be fixed for about the cost of a simple home repair. Lowering radon levels requires technical knowledge and skills, and it is best to work with a contractor who has been trained to fix radon problems. Let us know if Radon has been a problem in your home.

RELY ON TRUSTED PROFESSIONALS 

Finally, For your home to be a safe haven for your family and to ensure their health, you must improve the air quality inside it! Hopefully these tips will put you on the track to a greener, healthier home , if you need help, Lion Home Service can take care of all your indoor air quality.  We service all of Northern Colorado in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Windsor and surrounding areas. Call us today! 970-399-9940 .

 

 

Air Pollution

Sore Throat from Wildfires? Invest in Indoor Air Quality

Wildfires have always been a problem for Northern Colorado residents, but never quite to the degree that we’ve seen these past few years. In fact, 2020 alone saw a record-setting blaze drape the entire front range in a choking, orange haze. Couple this with the Coronavirus outbreak forcing more of us indoors for longer periods of time, and you have a recipe for very poor indoor air quality.

How Wildfires in the Mountains Impact Your Home’s Air

A few weeks back from this writing, it may have been more difficult to convince Northern Colorado residents of the direct impact fires have on our communities and in the air of our homes, but the recent fire season has likely proven that point for us to some degree.

But just what is going on? Why and how does smoke outside of our homes cause a drop in our indoor air quality?

Fires Create Dangerous Outdoor Air

Here’s where we tell you what you already know: during a wildfire, surrounding areas are likely to have dangerous outdoor air. While that’s not a shocker to local residents, what may come as a surprise is just how much worse the air can get.

Under normal conditions, we enjoy impressively-clean outdoor air when considering the size of the metropolitan area in Northern Colorado.

During a wildfire, however, that can jump dramatically in the other direction.

For example, a normal AQI (Air Quality Index) for Fort Collins is around 20-30. During a nearby wildfire, that number jumped to over 200. As you can imagine, lower is better on this scale. Check out the Colorado Air Quality Report from the Department of Public Health & Education to see today’s conditions, as well as those in recent days.

To put this into perspective, that’s worse than an average day in Dubai, the most polluted city on the planet.

Since our residents are obviously unaccustomed to this level of air pollutants and, in many cases, have not employed solutions against this level of air quality, wildfires can pose a serious health risk.

Some Outdoor Air Will Get In

Despite the massive leap forward we’ve taken in constructing homes with energy-efficient windows, doors, siding, roofing, and more, particles from the outside still find their way into even the most well-constructed homes. While you should try to keep windows and doors closed as much as possible, it is important to recognize that alone will not be enough to keep all outdoor contaminants out.

During a wildfire, this means that your indoor air quality will also drop as a result of the added particles present in the outdoor air.

These particles can cause or irritate the following, even if you remain indoors:

  • Burning eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Illnesses, such as bronchitis
  • Agitate chronic conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and certain heart and lung diseases

Wildfires Have Become More Likely

Colorado climate scientists say that we should expect to see more wildfires like we’ve seen in 2020, according to reporting from Colorado Public Radio. Anecdotal, anyone that’s lived in Northern Colorado for a decade or more can attest that fires have been more likely to start and have burned for longer in recent years than any in memory.

This is likely due to Colorado’s average temperatures rising and the driest parts of the year being even more dry than usual. This recipe creates the perfect conditions for wildfires to start (and continue) across the state.

We’re Spending More Time At Home

Under normal conditions, the top pollutant in most homes would be its residents. Dust from skin and hair combines with chemicals and other contaminants from our possessions to create contaminants that can swirl around in the air for far longer than you’d like to imagine.

Since we’re now spending more time at home than ever amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the indoor air quality of our homes is likely at a lower spot than it normally would be when parents are off at work and children are spending time outdoors or in school.

Couple this together with choking smoke from a wildfire, plus the contaminants in the air entering our homes anyway, and you have a recipe for far worse indoor air than you may have come to expect from your home.

We Can Help

At Lion Home Services, we’re happy to help homeowners increase their home’s indoor air quality with our Whole House High-Efficiency Air Cleaner systems. We use solutions for trapping or eliminating the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in your home to greatly reduce the contaminants in the indoor air.

Check out everything our team has to offer your home and decide if an indoor air quality addition to your home’s existing HVAC could be just the thing to keep your home’s air fresh and clean regardless of what is happening in the world outside.

Find your next indoor air quality solution today!

Air Pollution

Reducing Air Pollution in Your Home

At Lion Home Service, we understand how dangerous it can be to have high levels of air pollution in your home. There are many sources of air pollution that can be minimized to improve the quality of the air that you’re breathing. You can also take steps to remove pollutants from your air once they have entered your home.

Causes of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution can come from a variety of sources and cause health issues. Whether you’re worried about asthma getting worse or getting sick from bacteria or viruses, keeping air contaminants out of your home is important.

Harmful pollution can come from:

  • Cleaning products
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Fireplaces
  • Smoking

Contaminants can get into your HVAC system and circulate throughout your building and degrade the air in a building. Indoor air pollution tends to be worse in the winter when windows and doors are closed and air circulation is minimized.

Steps to Minimize Exposure

Here are a couple of ways that you could minimize your personal exposure to harmful pollutants.

Maintain Your HVAC System: Keeping your air filters clean can keep dirt from getting dislodged and entering the air stream. You can also have a professional install an air purifier in your home to clean the air.

Ventilate Your Home: Keeping windows and doors open whenever possible will allow fresh air in your home and prevent the buildup of harmful chemicals or particles in the air. In the winter, open a window whenever it’s warm enough to encourage airflow in your home.

Our Trusted Indoor Air Quality Services

At Lion Home Service, we’re proud to offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee on all of our services. We’re fast and reliable, and we care about the well-being of all of our customers. Our service experts are highly experienced and friendly.

Call us at Lion Home Service today to see how we can help you reduce air pollutants in your Fort Collins, CO, home. Call us for other services, too. We offer heating, cooling, duct cleaning, electrical, insulation, and drain repair services.