Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Evaluating and improving your indoor air quality: Part 1


Your home is a safe haven. It should be where you come to relax and kick your shoes off after a hard day at work. Worrying about sickness or other health concerns should not be on your mind. Ensuring that your home has high indoor air quality is essential to your health.

Health risks associated with poor IAQ
Consumer Reports noted that only 9 percent of Americans are concerned with the health issues that may arise as a result of poor IAQ. There are a number of obstacles that may arise if your home does not have pollutant-free indoor air.

According to the American Lung Association, some possible health issues that may be instigated due to poor air quality include:

  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Infections

Protect yourself and your family from poor IAQ by taking proper precautions and ensure your home's air is clean and fresh.

Contributors to poor air quality in your home 
There are a number of pollutants that can contaminate your indoor air. The first step to improving your environment is becoming aware of elements that may contaminate your air. The Centers for Disease Control's Health Housing Reference Manual indicated second-hand smoke, chemical pollutants, pets, mold, dust mites, pollen and cockroaches are the main causes of poor IAQ

Second-hand smoke is responsible for nearly 50,000 deaths each year, according to the ALA. Avoid smoking indoors and near the entrance to your home to help improve your IAQ. 

Chemical pollutants are not limited to pesticides you may use to control insects and spiders in your home. Radon, carbon monoxide and cleaning products are some pollutants that can lead to poor air quality in your home. Hire a home inspection company to perform carbon monoxide and radon inspections for your safety. These are dangerous pollutants that are both colorless and odorless. Have a professional determine whether your home is safe.

Consumer Reports suggested running a fan or opening a window while using cleaning products. For a safe alternative all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer, Good Housekeeping recommended mixing four tablespoons of baking soda and one quart of warm water.

Unfortunately, pet dander can contaminate your air. Air Advice for Homes suggested cutting down on this pollutant by washing hands after petting, washing your pet regularly, limiting the number of cloth and fibrous materials that attract pet dander and equipping your home with proper filtration and ventilation. 

Natural contaminants that lead to poor IAQ
The United States Environmental Protection Agency emphasized that if mold is an issue, you must clean it up and find and stop the moisture source. Mold can grow on nearly any surface. It thrives off of moisture and oxygen. While you cannot eliminate 100 percent of mold spores indoors, you can get rid of a great deal of it by controlling indoor moisture build up. 

Dust mites often trigger asthma and poor IAQ. Control them by using allergen barrier covers for beds and pillows. Also, consider investing in a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, vacuum. The filters in these are specifically designed to trap more airborne particles than a standard vacuum.

Many plants and flowers release pollen particles into the air. These can travel into the home and contaminate your IAQ. Keep your doors and windows closed when possible and change filters to any window air conditioners, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

​The AAFA also suggested using boric acid traps and poison baits to control cockroaches. Keep garbage covered and do not leave food out as well. The CDC noted that these insects can cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms. Avoid using pesticides or chemical aerosols because they may further jeopardize your IAQ.