Since many of us spend the majority of our time indoors, the quality of the indoor air we breathe is essential to our health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, where air can contain 2 to 5 times more pollutants than outside air. Children, the elderly and people with cardiovascular or respiratory issues are particularly at risk of being impacted by poor indoor air quality. What can you do to improve your home’s air quality? Here are five steps to take today:
1. Air Out Your Home
There are several reasons why airing out your home is a good idea – not only does it bring in fresh air, it can also dilute the pollutants already in your home’s air. Whenever the weather allows, open your windows and let the fresh air in. You can also turn on your fans to help circulate the air as it flows through your house. If you are worried about humidity, running your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans can help reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
2. Minimize Your Home’s Pollutants
There are several ways you can reduce pollutants from your home. For example, vacuuming frequently helps remove dust and pollen. If you have indoor pets, bathing and brushing your pets can help control dander buildup. If you have a smoker in your home, not smoking inside can significantly reduce the pollutants in your home. Additionally, remember to replace your filters in your HVAC system regularly.
3. Consider an Air Cleaner
Air cleaners can be effective in lowering the amount of harmful particles in indoor air. Options range from portable, one-room models to whole-house cleaners. Whole house air purifiers work with your furnace or HVAC system to filter the air throughout your home, trapping dirt, dust, pollen, dander and other allergens and harmful particles. They also can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by preventing those particles from building up inside your system, resulting in less energy required to keep the system running. Consumer Reports recommends choosing an air cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, which removes at least 99.97% of airborne particles. BGE HOME offers a number of whole house cleaners with HEPA filters. Our Energy & Comfort Consultants can help you determine which cleaner will work best with your HVAC system.
4. Schedule a Duct Cleaning
Having your air duct system professionally cleaned every five to seven years can improve your home’s indoor air quality by removing dust mites, dust and pet dander. Duct cleaning can also help maintain the efficiency of your HVAC system. BGE HOME offers duct cleaning services using the HEPA-AIRE method. This method uses high-pressure air to clean your ducts instead of using chemicals to clean.
5. Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If your HVAC system or any appliances are powered by natural gas, coal or wood, you run the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. CO is colorless and odorless and can be released into the air if an appliance or HVAC system malfunctions or is not installed correctly. Blocked flues and chimneys can also cause CO to accumulate inside the home. Initial symptoms are often mild and can go undetected until the CO levels reach a critical stage. To ensure that you and your family recognize the presence of CO before it reaches dangerous levels, install a CO detector and be sure to have it inspected annually by a professional. BGE HOME can help you find a Carbon Monoxide detector.
BGE HOME offers multiple products that can help you improve your home’s indoor air quality. Learn more about our heating and air conditioning accessories and request an estimate from a BGE HOME Energy & Comfort consultant.