Improving Air Quality Inside Our Homes

York National Realty Inc. |

The air we breathe…..

Green Real Estate Nov 21, 2014

As we hunker down for another long and cold Canadian winter,  we should turn our attention to the air quality inside our homes.

The common culprits of poor indoor air are mold, formaldehyde and radon. The more time we pend indoors, the greater the exposure and side effects will be. We should therefore familiarize ourselves with these pollutants and how to remove them.

The quality of the air inside our buildings can often be worse than the air outdoors.  The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. estimates that poor indoor air quality is responsible for half of all respiratory problems, eye and skin irritations, and sore throat. Poor air quality has been linked to memory loss and even depression. Long-term exposure has been linked to heart disease, sterility and cancer.

Here is what you could do to improve the condition of the air in your home or office:

Never smoke indoors!  Keep cigarette smoke out of your home and regularly air out your space by opening a window or running exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms if only for a few minutes each day.

Too much moisture is bad news.  Surplus moisture causes mold and respiratory problems. Leave the fan on in the laundry room while you are using the machines. Let the fan in the bathroom run for 30 minutes after every shower.

Become Eco-friendly and remove chemicals and solvents from your space.  Consider cleaning surfaces with natural ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.

Add some green – this is the best and most inexpensive way to clean and filter the air. Avoid electronic air purifiers. For optimum results,  choose a 10 or 12-inch potted plant for every 100 square feet of space. Dust your plant leaves every so often to ensure proper absorption of air particles and toxins. Indoor plants such as Aloe Vera, Bamboo, Ferns, Mums, and Reed Palms are excellent purifiers of air.

Say no to air fresheners, sprays, and dry cleaning chemicals – avoid using sprays such as Fabreeze on clothes and furniture, do not spray fresheners around the home and find a chemical-free dry cleaner in your neighborhood. Air out chemically cleaned apparel before bringing it inside. The solvents used in these products are strong and toxic.

Kill dust mites – dust mites are microscopic pests and feed on our dead skin. They live in bedding, mattresses, stuffed toys, carpets and upholstery. Many people have dust allergies which are caused by mites. Keeping the humidity levels below 50 per cent will help get rid of them. Use a heavy-duty vacuum and steam cleaner on rugs and upholstered furniture. Try washing bedding regularly and use covers that are resistant to dust mites.

Think before buying — Your furniture and mattress are a big source of pollutants, they along with curtains and drapes contain flame-retardant chemicals. |These chemicals have been linked to learning disabilities, memory loss, low sperm counts and poor thyroid functions in laboratory animals. Mattresses are the worst offenders as they contain other toxins. Ask for toxin-free products and consider bedding made of 100-per-cent wool. Avoid pressed-wood products and particle board. They often contain urea formaldehyde. Consider spending the extra money for solid wood products where possible. They last much longer and are environmentally friendly.

Eliminating pollutants from the air is a worthwhile pursuit. Realtors can play a major role in educating clients on air quality, energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse emissions. Fore more information, visit: www.nagab.org

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