We spend a lot of time in enclosed indoor environments — working, studying, cooking, sleeping, relaxing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors — where pollution levels are two to five times higher than they are outside.
Because we spend so much time indoors, indoor air quality — or the quality of the air inside a home, school, office or other building — matters tremendously. Indoor air can be fresh and clean, or it can contain pollutants like carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, fungus, dust and more. Indoor air quality affects our health, our sleeping patterns and our quality of life.
Fortunately, you can take a few easy steps to increase the air quality of your home or office. We will discuss some of those steps below, along with the benefits you’re likely to see and feel.
Health Benefits of Improving Indoor Air Quality
For any home or business, the health benefits of improving indoor air quality are enormous.
Unless we’re sick, most of us barely give our breathing a second thought, even though we do it all day long, every day and night. But being able to provide enough oxygen to our lungs and from there to our other bodily tissues is vital. Clean air helps us take deeper, more refreshing breaths and increase our oxygen intake. This eases strain on the heart and lungs and leads to better overall health.
The effects of air quality on human well-being don’t stop with the respiratory system. Poor air quality can lead to a general feeling of unwellness as well. If you experience respiratory symptoms, mild flu-like symptoms, headaches or fatigue at work, but the symptoms clear up once you get home — a phenomenon known as “sick-building syndrome” — chances are good that contaminants in the environment may be the culprits. Improving air quality usually helps people with these symptoms feel more like themselves again.
Pollen, dust, mold, animal dander, mites, cockroach droppings — all of these can contribute to allergies if they are present in our environment, contaminating the air we breathe. Cleaner, better-quality air contains fewer of the environmental allergens that make us cough and sneeze or give us runny noses, sinus congestion and headaches.
Comfortable Humidity Level
Creating the right level of humidity in your home or office can be a tricky balance. Too much humidity, and you can end up with frizzy hair, clammy skin, and an environment exceptionally hospitable to the growth of mold and pathogens. Too little, and you can end up with dry, irritated skin, dry hair, and an increased frequency of nosebleeds and respiratory issues. Improving your indoor air quality by cleaning your vents prevents the mildew and dust content in your home or business. A combined effort creates a comfortable level of humidity.
Clogged air ducts trap and breed dust, mold and bacteria, and those creatures tend to give off sour, musty odors. Traditional filters do not remove all odors from the air, and air freshener products definitely don’t — they just add a better smell on top of the unpleasant ones. But getting a proper air duct cleaning helps remove unpleasant odors so you can enjoy your home or office environment more.
More Restful Sleep
It’s hard to sleep when you can’t breathe, or when something is irritating your throat or nasal passages. Even if you do get to sleep, your sleep will likely be light and restless. A study of almost 2,000 people across six American cities showed that people who live in areas of high air pollution have a 60% chance of reduced sleep efficiency than people who live in areas with cleaner air. Good air quality removes irritants from your bedroom so you can drop into deep, quality REM sleep, stay asleep all night and wake up refreshed in the morning.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Good air quality means clean, wide-open air ducts. This cleanliness means that your energy system doesn’t have to work as hard to pump air through your ductwork and vents. This increased efficiency can also help you save money on your heating and cooling bills.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
To improve indoor air quality in your home, try some of the tips below.
Inadequate ventilation is one of the factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality. When the weather allows, one of the best ways to reduce indoor air pollution is to open your windows and let in some fresh air. Pollutants, from dust to chemical residues, tend to build up in our homes over time. But a burst of fresh air helps sweep away pollutants and allergens and leave your home’s air clean and pure.
2. Clean Air Conditioning Filters Regularly
Just like your car, your air conditioning system has air filters. They need regular cleaning so the air in your house remains clean and fresh. If the filters build up a collection of dust, dander or chemical residues, they cannot do their work as effectively. Eventually, your air conditioning system will be blowing dust and other allergens straight into your home. Maintain your filters to keep your air conditioner blowing clean, healthful air during the warm months.
3. Launder Towels and Bedding Frequently
Weekly laundry loads of clothes are a must for many people. But do all of us wash our towels and bedding just as often? Towels and bedding can harbor dead skin cells and mites that contribute to allergic reactions and poor air quality. Even curtains, rugs and soft furniture like couches and armchairs can harbor mites and other allergens, so try to give these a good regular scrub or vacuuming as well.
4. Use Activated Charcoal Air Filters
Activated charcoal is now a standard component of many air filters because it binds to pollutants, effectively removing them from your circulating air. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to create a meshlike structure with tiny oxygen holes between the carbon atoms. This structure increases the surface area of the carbon and allows it to bond pollutants to itself through the process of adsorption. Using these air filters will not eliminate all pollutants, but it can reduce their concentration and help you notice fewer physical effects.
5. Turn Your Home Into an Indoor Greenhouse
There’s a reason the Amazon rainforest is known as the lungs of the planet. All that greenery removes toxins from the air and releases oxygen instead. Though you probably can’t recreate a rainforest in your living room, one cost-effective, natural way to improve the air quality of your home is to get some houseplants. Houseplants can liven up just about any room with their vibrant color, but they also help purify the air by taking in pollutants and releasing oxygen into the air.
6. Control Humidity Levels
If your home is too muggy, use a dehumidifier to reduce unwanted humidity. Controlling humidity levels creates a more pleasant living environment, and it also helps prevent mold growth. The dryer the environment, the less mold can thrive, and the fewer allergenic mold spores will find their way into the air and your lungs.
7. Choose Health-Friendly Materials
If you remodel your house, try to use environmentally friendly and health-friendly materials. Solvents, adhesives and paints often contain harsh chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemical compounds can diminish the air quality in your home and cause an array of health effects, such as respiratory symptoms, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Even furniture can contain these additives, so choose new decor with care.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Business
To improve indoor air quality in your office, you can try some of these EPA-approved steps.
1. Keep Air Vents Clear
If objects, equipment or office furniture is blocking your air vents, then the air in your building cannot circulate. If the air cannot circulate, it is will stagnate, and if you have air filters in place, it will not filter through them as quickly or effectively as it should. Make sure your vents are unobstructed so clean air can flow freely around the building.
2. Create a Designated Smoking Area
When employees go out to smoke, especially in poor weather, they may instinctively congregate near the building entrance. If that happens, secondhand smoke will come in through the door and windows and diminish the air quality in the building. To prevent this from happening, designate an employee smoking area well away from doors, windows and air intakes.
3. Store and Use Chemicals Properly
Make sure employees use chemicals only in well-ventilated areas, both for their health and safety and to prevent the accumulation of harsh fumes within the building. Keeping chemicals flowing out of the building instead of in toward the air intakes and HVAC system will help keep your air clean and employees’ lungs clear.
4. Take an Integrative Approach to Pest Control
Mice, roaches and other building pests are never fun to deal with, and some companies’ first impulse is to take a scorched-earth approach to pest control. But the chemicals used to control pests can be hard on the air and lungs. Consider ways to use preventative measures, like improving food storage, and nonchemical approaches, such as using bait traps or glue traps, before resorting to harsh chemical measures.
5. Have Your Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned
A professional air duct cleaning service like Cyclone Professional Cleaners can remove the buildup of mites, dust, mold, smoke, pesticides, and other chemicals and pathogens. If you’ve been using air filters, but they haven’t solved the issue, or if you’d rather go straight to the source, a professional cleaning service is the way to go. Removing harsh chemicals and allergenic buildup from your ductwork helps keep those particles out of the air so employees can enjoy a clean and healthful atmosphere in the workplace.
Contact Cyclone Professional Cleaners for Air Duct Cleaning Services
At Cyclone Professional Cleaners, we know health comes first. And we have the equipment, experience and services to make that value a reality for your business. Our truck-mounted hot-water extraction machines help avoid the use of harsh chemicals as much as possible, and our caring, experienced technicians get the job done right every time.
Our health-conscious products and methods will help keep your ductwork clean, your air pure and refreshing, and your employees healthy and happy. To learn more about air duct cleaning services in Plano or Dallas, contact us today or request a quote online.