(BPT) - When at home, you're probably relaxing, playing with the kids or tackling chores. What you aren't likely doing is thinking about the air you're breathing. Unfortunately, the reality is poor indoor air quality in residential spaces is a major problem.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission points to a growing body of scientific evidence that the air within homes can be more polluted than the outdoor air in large, industrialized cities. In fact, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be two to five times higher inside homes than outside, regardless if the home is in rural or industrial areas.
While you can't control the allergens and pollutants lurking outside, there are many ways to take action inside the home to improve your indoor air quality. From installing BEAM central vacuum systems to implementing smart moisture mitigation strategies, follow these four steps and breathe easier at home:
Step 1: Eliminate dust mites
Dust mites can be prevalent, especially in bedroom spaces. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bed covers in hot water that is at least 130 degrees F. to kill dust mites and remove allergens, notes the Mayo Clinic. If bedding can't be washed in hot water, put items in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 130 degrees F.
To further prevent mites in sleeping spaces, use dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows. If you have kids, don't forget to wash stuffed animals regularly in order to sanitize.
Step 2: Vacuum smarter
One of the easiest things you can do to improve indoor air quality is to vacuum thoroughly and regularly on all levels. However, traditional vacuums are heavy and difficult to move to different floors. Furthermore, they can kick up more dust into the air than they are removing. Due to these concerns, many homeowners are considering the benefits of central vacuum systems.
For example, BEAM central vacuums remove air, dirt and dust vacuumed from the home, whereas conventional vacuums may filter dirt and dust but recirculate the same air via the exhaust back into the home. BEAM Central vacuum maintenance is easy because the units have a self-cleaning filter that helps improve air quality during the vacuuming process.
How do central vacuums work? These systems have one permanent, hidden power unit with inlets in walls throughout the home that attach to power hoses and accessories. BEAM central vacuum systems are engineered with motors that provide powerful suction for a deeper clean; however, with the power unit located away from the living area, the quiet hush of airflow is all you will hear.
Step 3: Freshen air wisely
Open windows aren't always the best way to bring in fresh air. When pollen levels are high, the spores can come into a home and stick to every surface. On high-allergen days, refresh air and cool the home with fans or the air conditioner, and clean preferably with a central vacuum to maintain high indoor air quality.
As an additional line of defense against dust mite debris and allergens, you should use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter with your central furnace and air conditioning unit, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If that's too costly, the EPA says filters with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles. No matter which you use, try to change the filter every three months.
Step 4: Mitigate moisture
Mold thrives in dark, damp climates, so it's important to eliminate places for growth. To start, be aware of moisture levels throughout the home. Always use the bathroom exhaust fan to inhibit moisture buildup. Fix leaky faucets as quickly as possible and stay on top of maintenance for appliances like the refrigerator and air conditioner.
Additionally, consider using a dehumidifier to decrease the amount of moisture inside the home. This can be particularly important during rainy seasons or in basement or cellar spaces, if your home has them.
You can breathe easy with these four easy steps to better indoor air quality. To learn more about a healthy, clean home, visit www.buybeam.com.