The ongoing pandemic has put a renewed focus on the air we breathe. If you are spending more time at home this year, keeping the air in your living space as fresh and as free of pollutants is critical. Common indoor pollutants are from sources that release gases or particles into the air such as mold, radon and carbon monoxide. Poor indoor air quality from pollutants can lead to health problems. Regular home maintenance, such as cleaning and controlling moisture, can help protect and improve your indoor air quality.
Tackle Dust Mites Regularly. These bugs are too tiny to be visible and every home has them. You’ll find dust mites in pillows, carpet, upholstered furniture, stuffed toys and fabric. Dust mites are mostly made up of skin cells, dirt, pollen, mold spores and animal dander. These unwelcomed critters can trigger asthma in individuals with allergies to dust mites. Vacuuming, dusting and washing bedding regularly can help contain dust mites. Dustproof or allergen-blocking covers are available at home goods stores for pillows, mattresses and bed covers.
Test Your Home for Radon. While you cannot see or smell radon, this type of radioactive gas, could be present in your home and harmful to your health. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks in your foundation. Your home can trap radon inside. At home radon testing kits are available at home improvement stores. You can contact the National Radon Safety Board to find a professional radon mitigation specialist if you have issues with radon in your home.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector. Another odorless and colorless substance that can cause health problems, or even death, is carbon monoxide. This toxic gas is found in fumes produced by items in your home such as furnaces, stoves or gas ranges that build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Always make sure any gas-powered tools like generators or space heaters are used in a well-ventilated space. The most common ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure is to avoid heating your home with a gas range and running your car in your garage. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a carbon monoxide detector in every home to prevent poisoning.
Control Moisture in Your Home to Prevent Mold. Molds are microscopic organisms found everywhere indoors and out. Most molds are harmless, but some can cause infections, allergy symptoms and produce toxins. Mold can get in your home through open doors, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem or hire a professional contractor with experience cleaning up mold.
For more home maintenance tips contact Irons Brothers Construction at www.ironsbc.com. Also visit Irons Brothers Construction at the Seattle Home Show from Feb. 26 through March 6. We will be conducting seminars the last weekend — Friday-Sunday, March 4-6 — to help educate homeowners. Learn more at seattlehomeshow.com/show-info.
— By Joseph Irons, Irons Brothers Construction, Inc.