While we no longer need to scrub our floors and walls in the spring to remove sooty residue from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves used in the winter, 72 percent of Americans continue the tradition of spring cleaning every year, reports statistics. This typically includes washing down household surfaces, scrubbing floors, washing curtains and cleaning the windows. That can remove built-up dirt or dust and leave your home looking sparkling clean, but there is another important area of spring cleaning you may be overlooking. Making sure the air in your home is clean and healthy is important too. Check out these simple steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality.
Keeping your house clean and free of pet hair and other debris goes a long way to keep your air clean, but no amount of sweeping and mopping will clean the air you breathe. Indoor air may contain pollutants you can’t see, like pollen from nearby plants and trees, pet dander, bacteria, viruses and even mold spores. To improve the air quality and remove pollutants from the air, you will need an air filtration system. These devices can remove up to 98 percent of airborne pollutants in the air your family breathes every day, making it an excellent choice for improving indoor air quality, especially for those with allergies and asthma.
Installing UV lights in the air handling area of your HVAC system will work to kill bacteria and mold before it can be blown throughout your home. Both bacteria and mold can form on your air conditioning coils when they get wet. Keep in mind that UV lighting is only effective on organic growths and will not remove other pollutants, like dust, pollen or pet dander. However, if you live in an area with high humidity or experience hot, sticky weather during the summer, UV lighting is a great way to reduce mold and bacteria in the air in your home.
Maintaining proper humidity levels improves your indoor air quality. That means keeping the humidity level in your home at about 45 percent, but that isn’t always easy. During the winter months when your heating system is running, the humidity levels may drop and in the summer when it is hot and steamy outside, you may find the humidity level rising. As a rule, humidity levels below 30 percent is too dry and may cause dried nasal passages, while anything over 50 percent can leave you feeling hot and sweaty and can also lead to mold growth. There are two ways to control the humidity in your home:
- Humidifiers. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is too dry. This will raise the humidity level and make you and your family feel more comfortable.
- Dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and are effective when the humidity level in your home is too high. You may need to run a dehumidifier during the summer when the air is hot and sticky. Not only will you and your family feel more comfortable, but it will also help prevent issues with mold and mildew too.