How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Longview WA Home
A variety of respiratory conditions and other health concerns are tied to poor air quality. Impurities and pollutants can cause allergies, aggravate conditions like asthma, and lead to shortness of breath. This is especially true during the wildfire season that plagues the state of Washington during the summer.
On the other hand, there are many benefits you can reap by taking a few relatively easy steps to improve the air quality in your area. Cleaner air leads to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as a more comfortable environment in general. And while the Longview, WA, air quality is generally good, seasonal fires and poorly maintained HVAC systems can drive that quality way down. Here are a few steps you can take to address that problem.
1. Vacuum the Carpets Regularly
The fibers that make up your carpet may feel great beneath your feet, but they also have the less than desirable quality of trapping pet dander, dust, and other impurities, leading to a reduction in air quality. Depending upon the color of your carpet, it may be difficult to detect when it becomes dirty, so don’t take any chances. Vacuum the carpets and rugs in the house at least once a week to prevent harmful dirt and dust from accumulating in them.
Occasionally, you’ll also want to deep clean your carpet with a cleaning machine. You can do this on your own by renting the necessary equipment, or you can hire a professional to do the job. Performing this task once or twice per year will keep your carpet looking brand new, no matter how much traffic it gets daily.
2. Keep the Humidity Under Control
Good air quality needs to have the right level of humidity. If the air is too dry, this can lead to sore throats and other unpleasant side effects. A little moisture in the air is also a good thing when it comes to controlling bacteria and viruses, such as colds or the flu. These harmful pathogens will bind to the moisture and fall harmlessly to the ground, rather than stay airborne where they can be inhaled.
Too much moisture in the air, however, can encourage the growth of harmful mold, which can release its spores into your indoor environment. These mold spores are a major contributing factor to reducing your Longview, WA, air quality, so you’ll want to keep excessive humidity at bay.
Air conditioners and furnaces can help to control humidity in their own right, but you can also purchase dehumidifiers or humidifiers at most major department stores. Place a few of these throughout the home and use them to manage the moisture in the air. Keep note, however, that these humidifiers and dehumidifiers must be cleaned regularly, or they will lose their effectiveness in the battle against mold and disease.
3. Use Natural Ventilation When You Can
During the summer, it may be necessary to run the air conditioning most of the time, due to the heat. Likewise, you might not be able to enjoy natural ventilation during the coldest days of the winter because you’ll need to shut the doors and windows and crank up the thermostat. However, if the weather permits it, try to utilize natural ventilation when you can. The Longview, WA, air quality is normally quite good outdoors, so don’t be afraid to let it in. Open all the windows and invest in a screen door so that the outdoor air can circulate throughout your home occasionally.
4. Don’t Cook With Gas
Many people prefer to cook with gas, as opposed to electricity, but burning fossil fuels inside the home reduces the indoor air quality. Byproducts of the process of burning gases build up inside the home, displacing clean air and potentially aggravating health conditions. Some of these compounds that are produced by burning gas for cooking include carbon monoxide—which is odorless, tasteless, and potentially lethal—and nitrogen dioxide.
Avoid reducing the air quality in your home by opting to cook with electricity instead of gas. Or if you do find it to be absolutely necessary to burn fuels in order to prepare food indoors, keep the room well ventilated by opening windows if possible and utilizing any vents your home has. Of course, you should always make sure that the stove is turned all the way off when your cooking has concluded.
5. Have Your Vents and Ducts Cleaned Regularly
Your HVAC system circulates air through your home through a system of vents and ducts, which over time will experience a buildup of dust, dirt, pollen, and other impurities. As these impurities build up in the ducts and vents of the home, they’ll be reintroduced to the air, leading to a dramatic reduction in Longview, WA, air quality.
Poorly maintained vents and ductwork can have other negative side effects as well. For example, they’ll reduce the air’s ability to circulate effectively, driving your energy bill up and potentially rendering your home less comfortable than it should be.
Address the problems caused by unclean ducts and vents by having a professional HVAC worker come in and clean them regularly. This should be done at least yearly to maximize the benefits.
6. Change Filters Regularly Too
Filters in the AC system of your home will also build up harmful impurities, which will negatively affect the health of your household, as it reduces the air quality in the house. As part of a regular program of maintenance and care of your HVAC system, you should have a contractor from a company such as Entek change the filters periodically.
If you like, you can also ask your contractor about utilizing advanced modern technology in order to further improve the effectiveness of your air filters. For example, many modern filters make use of ultraviolet light to kill mold spores and bacteria and deactivate viruses before they circulate into the home to cause sickness to the inhabitants. As with any other filtration system, these require regular maintenance but can serve as an additional line of defense for you and your loved ones.