Poor indoor air quality, or IAQ, in your Auburn, Alabama, home can cause sinus problems, eye irritation, headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and asthma and allergy symptoms. Contaminants like dust, dirt, mold, and pollen can also cause expensive problems with your HVAC system, shortening its life and lowering its efficiency. Fortunately, simple chores like cleaning regularly, using natural products, adding some houseplants, and taking care of your HVAC system can benefit your IAQ.
Regular cleaning keeps pollutants from accumulating in your home. You should vacuum at least twice per week and make sure your vacuum cleaner has good suction and a filter that can keep dirt and dust from escaping through the exhaust. Dust and clean your air registers and ceiling fans with a damp cloth. Check your ductwork every few months by removing an air register to look for dirt, dust, cobwebs, pests, or pest droppings. If your ducts look dirty, have them cleaned by a professional.
You should also clean your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans with soap and water once you've turned off the power and removed the covers. When you have guests, ask them to take their shoes off so they won't track dirt, dust, or pollen into your home. Floor mats near your doors can help, too.
Using Natural Products
Commercial cleaners and air fresheners often contain volatile organic chemicals or VOCs that can cause cancer and other health problems. These chemicals include formaldehyde, acetone, toluene, xylene, benzene, and more. You can avoid them by using homemade cleaners, as well as potpourri or air fresheners with natural essential oils. To make your own potpourri, simmer cinnamon sticks or cloves on your stove, or just put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and leave it in a drawer or closet. You can also use an essential oil diffuser or mix it in a spray bottle with water.
Healthy cleaners like water with baking soda work well on most surfaces. You can even make your own furniture polish with olive oil and lemon juice.
Adding Helpful Houseplants
Plants absorb VOCs and other pollutants from the air when they take in carbon dioxide, and the microorganisms in soil help clean the air, as well. Potted plants can increase your indoor air quality, but you shouldn't keep too many in one room as they could increase the room's humidity and encourage mold growth. Indoor plants can also improve your family's mood and reduce fatigue. Most of them are very easy to care for. Be sure the plants you choose aren't poisonous to your children or pets.
Chrysanthemums have pretty flowers and they can absorb benzene and other VOCs from paint. Chinese evergreens can absorb many toxins, including formaldehyde and xylene, and they have interesting silver leaves with green spots to add to your decor. Aloe vera is a succulent that's easy to grow, and the gel inside it is great for burns and dry skin.
Taking Care of Your HVAC System
Your heating and air conditioning system improves your indoor air quality by bringing fresh air into your home and filtering the air that's already indoors. You should check your system's air filter at least once per month and change it when it gets dirty.
Keep leaves, twigs, grass clippings, pollen, and other debris away from your outdoor HVAC unit with an awning, a fence or trellis, or a protective cover. Leave at least 2 feet of space on all sides of your unit for optimum airflow and efficiency. If your unit gets dirty, rinse it off with a garden hose. Don't use a pressure washer since it could damage your fan or evaporator coil. Have your system inspected by a professional in spring and fall to catch any problems before they become severe and expensive.
Sensigreen stands for sensible green solutions, and we're a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer. We can help you improve your indoor air quality and install, maintain, and repair a variety of HVAC equipment and insulation. Call us anytime at (334) 528-0765 for great service.
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