It’s that HOT time of year again, when we button up our homes tightly, to keep the cool air in, and the hot humid air out. This is great for keeping your electric bills from skyrocketing, but it also has an effect on our indoor air quality. Here is how that works – when your home is buttoned up tightly, there is little outside ventilation available.  That ventilation ordinarily would dilute any accumulation of toxic chemicals released as by-products from the use of some cleansers.   And that is the problem – tightly sealed homes trap indoor air. Since we spend so much time indoors during these HOT months, it become extra important to pay attention to maintaining the quality of your indoor environment and a healthy home.

Principles of a Healthy Home

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is promoting 8 “Principles of a Healthy Home” that they hope will help you keep your indoor environment as healthy as it can be.  We are happy to share this with you here.

1. Keep your home Dry Mold and moisture increase allergens and asthma triggers, and can cause deterioration of your home.

2. Keep your home Clean Clean homes help reduce pest infestations, dust, and exposure to contaminants.

3. Keep your home Pest-Free Many pest treatments pose risks for families with health problems or expose young children and pets to poisonous residue. Non-pesticide treatments are best for a first line of defense.

4. Keep your home Safe A majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

5. Keep your home Contaminant-Free Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

6. Keep your home Ventilated Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health. Air filters in HVAC units collect and protect families from many particulates found in the air.

7. Keep your home Maintained Poorly-maintained homes increase the risk for deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing which is the primary cause of lead poisoning in children less than 6 years of age.

8. Keep your home Temperature Controlled Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.

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Other ideas to maintain the highest standards for indoor air quality

  • Use an extra air filter if you have pets because  pets release ‘dander’ and shed hair. You can tape a 20 x 20 air filter to the back of a 20 inch box fan to make a very effective DIY air filter. They work great and can reduce the load on the filtration in your AC unit.
  • Clean your carpets regularly. Carpets act like a filter and catch dust, dander, hair, dust mites, cockroach and mice allergens as well as  other particulates. Cleaning this accumulation helps keep your indoor environment its cleanest.
  • Avoid the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals. Use Nok-Out instead! It is a multi-purpose cleaner that can be used all around the house. See: http://blog.nokout.com/replace-your-toxic-household-cleaning-chemicals-for-a-safer-home-environment/ for more on this idea.

Links to more information regarding Indoor Air Quality