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Home is Where We Breathe Most: 4 Steps to Make the Air You Breathe at Home More Healthy
You already know and feel this, but we’ve spent a lot more time at home in the last 18 months than we have ever done in the last 50 years. We spent a bunch of that time making our homes more comfortable and livable. For many of us, those changes are permanent. We made home offices and home gyms. We updated our kitchens (even if only our appliances) and bathrooms. And, we were forced to pay attention to the annoying things we’ve ignored for so long like the chipped paint in the hall, that little spot of mildew in the shower, and the smoke that fills the kitchen every time we fry bacon or roast broccoli in the oven. Some of those issues we could deal with rather easily. A bucket of paint and a brush solves the paint problem, and a new fridge gave us more room for groceries (because we can only handle so much takeout). But what do we do about the stuff that’s not so easy to resolve? How do we keep the mildew from coming back? How do we get rid of the stuff we’re putting into the air when we cook? And is it ok that I’m smelling all these cleaning chemicals, every day? Good questions.
You can solve the air quality related problems easily. In fact, most homeowners’ own the appliances and products that can improve indoor air quality, but few use them properly.
Luckily, improving the air quality in your home, and reducing the side effects that come with poor indoor air quality, can be done by following a few simple tips.
- That fresh, lemony scent isn’t always a good thing.
Disinfectants are great for surfaces, but not so great for the air. When using household cleaners, be mindful of the harmful chemicals that can circulate into the air you breathe. To be safe, turn on your fresh air system, range hood, and/or bath fan to vent those chemicals out. And, if weather and other outdoor conditions permit, open a window.
- Keep humidity levels in check
It’s more than just a haze – foggy mirrors, damp towels and stale odors are all indicators of poor indoor air. Avoid mold, mildew, odors and other airborne dangers in bathrooms and adjoining rooms by turning on the bath fan during your bath or shower and for 20 minutes after. We make a bath fan that will automatically turn on when humidity rises above a pre-set level. When cooking, turn on the range hood to remove excess humidity from boiling water or simmering other dishes.
Not sure if your fan is working? Easily test the effectiveness by holding a piece of tissue paper near the fan – if the fan is removing air properly, the paper will be drawn against the fan cover and remain there as long as the fan is on.
- Run your range hood.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it’s also the primary source of poor indoor air quality. Excessive moisture, smoke, and airborne dangers can quickly infiltrate every room in your home, especially with a gas stove. Be sure to turn on your range hood before, during, and after cooking to remove moisture, grease, smoke, and other pollutants generated while preparing meals.
- Removing Dust is an absolute MUST
Keep dust, pollen, and other small particles bay. Dust is basically shed skin cells and pet dander, but often includes pollen and other small particles, called PM2.5 in the scientific world. All of these pollutants can cause irritation to eyes, noses, and throats and might even trigger allergic reactions. Make sure your air handler (furnace/AC) runs throughout the day to move air throughout the house and be sure to change the filter as recommended by the manufacturer. More importantly, consider installing a fresh air system that will bring fresh, filtered air into the home from outside. More advanced systems, such as an Energy Recovery Ventilator, can also vent out dirty, stale air.
- If all this seems like a lot to remember, we get it. So, we created the first, fully integrated, and connected indoor air quality system that we call Overture™. Overture uses a series of smart wall controls and room sensors to monitor your home’s indoor air quality and then turns on and off the ventilation systems in your home. So, when you steam up the bathroom while showering the system will sense the rise in humidity and automatically turn on your bath fan. If you have a Fresh Air System, Overture will also turn that system on to bring fresh air into the home at the same time. You can learn more about it at overture.broan-nutone.com.