Homes in Glenwood Springs, Aspen, or Vail, CO are supposed to be our little sanctuary. A place to escape the pressure of everyday life and spend quality time with friends and family. Climate Control Company hopes that’s the case for you. But you also need to make sure those homes are as safe and healthy as possible, which brings us to the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ) and indoor air pollution. For years, the EPA has warned the air inside our homes can be up to five times more polluted than outside air.
BREAKING IT DOWN
There are IAQ factors that can be beyond our direct control:
- Fire smoke that is often caused by out-of-control wildfires.
- Outdoor air pollution.
- Dirt, dust, pollen, and other allergens.
It’s hard to keep things like that from finding their way inside a house, but much indoor air pollution is caused by items we bring into our homes voluntarily not realizing the IAQ issues they can cause.
The experts have put together a list of common items that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. For the most part these are things you can directly control as opposed to fire smoke and other outdoor air pollution. You may find most, if not all, of these items to be surprising:
- Candles are considered cute and romantic, but they will also pollute your home. They give off harmful gases and particles while burning. Paraffin candles are considered the worst releasing carcinogens. If you still want candles, then buy ones made from beeswax or vegetable oils.
- Many store-bought air fresheners include volatile organic compounds that can cause a variety of health problems. Fragrant houseplants are a much safer choice when it comes to indoor air quality. If you don’t have a green thumb, use essential oils to provide pleasant smells.
- Dryer sheets may make your laundry softer and more fragrant, but also contain toxins that are released by the heat of the dryer. The best choice is not to use them or consider using dryer balls as a replacement.
- Household cleaners often contain volatile organic compounds that can cause breathing problems. The products include:
- Rug & upholstery cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Furniture polish
Safer choices include hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and white vinegar.
- That famous new carpet smell is really the result of off-gassing hazardous compounds. When shopping for carpet, look for certified “Green Label Plus” options. While older carpets no longer give off harmful gases, they will trap dust mites, dirt, and allergens. If you have carpeted floors, use a HEPA vacuum cleaner for regular cleaning.
- Gas stoves give off air pollution. You should use your ventilation fan whenever cooking, not just when you burn something in the pan. If you don’t have a fan, try to cook with the windows open.
- A new coat of paint may look nice, but it typically contains VOCs and can give off harmful gases for weeks. The result can be dizziness, nausea, headaches, and increased asthma symptoms. Shop for paint brands that are labeled as having zero volatile organic compounds.
- Household furniture is often treated with fire retardants. While the goal of fire safety is good, the retardants include many harmful pollutants; and there is some disagreement about how effective they are when a fire does start. It’s possible to find furniture not treated with retardants, but only you can decide if the IAQ benefits outweigh the possible fire risks.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
Climate Control Company is here to answer any questions you might have about improving the indoor air quality in your Glenwood Springs, Aspen, or Vail, CO home. Working together is the best way to assure your sanctuary is also safe for you, your family, and your friends. For more great information be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.