Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Is My House a System?

Keeping your home clean can lead to improved health and well-being, but where do you start? A spritz with an air freshener spray or a swipe with duster may make take care of obvious debris, but that’s a quick fix. Even a fresh-smelling home can be masking an undercurrent of health risks. Home indoor air quality is affected by a combination of non-organic and organic products and chemicals. These can range from plastics and paints, tobacco products, craft and hobby materials to heating and cooling equipment. Even your furniture can affect air quality, especially those made from pressed wood products.

Respected news organizations like ABC News have done indoor air quality special reports and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers indoor air pollution one the nation’s top  health risks. As more and more people work and play indoors, the opportunity for exposure increases. An average home has been reported to have more than 100 dangerous pollutants.

“But my house is clean,” you may say. “I vacuum and clean regularly. It looks clean!”

Looks can be deceiving. In particular, indoor air quality is subject to a wide variety of elements, including bio material (pet hair, dust, mold spores, bacteria, etc.) and outdoor pollutants (pesticides, dirt, etc.). These materials can settle into your carpet, your drapes and curtains, your furniture or your ventilation. That’s why it’s important to look at your house not just as a structure, but as a system requiring regular maintenance. From your foundation to your roof, a home has interconnecting areas influenced by each other. Dirt deposited on a rug by the front door, for example may be tracked throughout the house if that rug isn’t cleaned often.

Cleaning air filters, rugs and carpets may not seem related, but they contribute to overall the health and well-being of your family. There’s a lot of cleaning activities you can yourself do to improve air quality, like opening windows (weather permitting) or regular cleaning of carpets and area rugs. This is especially true for high-traffic areas, where moisture may accumulate and unseen mold has an environment to grow.

Further, just as a twice-yearly checkup at the dentist is a good idea for even those of us who brush and floss regularly, professional attention to your carpet and ventilation systems is important for continued “house health.” Professional attention to your key house areas – floors, walls, vents, furniture and more – can maintain the health of the occupants, as well as extend the life of your interior furnishings and floors.