Indoor Air Quality Improvement Tips
- Clean air conditioners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and heat exchangers regularly. Use distilled or demineralized water when filling humidifiers.
- Vent kerosene or gas heaters to the outside of your home. If you must use a kerosene heater, burn a low-sulfur (1-K) fuel, fill the heater outside, and keep it clean and properly adjusted.
- Wash bedding materials frequently in hot water (at least 130° F) using special laundry additives to reduce dust mites.
- Regularly cleaning your home prevents dust from accumulating and entering indoor air. Using a good vacuum cleaner is essential for this task.
- Fit your gas range with a hood fan that vents pollutants to the outside, or keep a window open and use a window exhaust fan while cooking. Don't use your gas oven to heat your home. If the tip of your gas range burner flame is yellow or orange instead of blue, adjust the range. When replacing a gas appliance, select a new model that uses spark ignition rather than pilot lights, or choose an electric appliance instead.
- Read all the print on containers and follow the directions carefully when using household cleaning agents, personal-care products, hobby materials, and pesticides. Also substitute pump-type products for aerosols, where feasible.
- Never leave a car or lawn mower engine running in an attached shed or garage, or any enclosed space.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool.
- Make sure wood or coal stoves are vented to the outside and that the exhaust systems don't leak.
- Reduce formaldehyde gas that may arise from panelling, carpets, and drapes by increasing ventilation, by using an appropriate air cleaner or heat exchanger, or by covering sources of the gas with appropriate coatings and sealers. Also, area rugs - rather than installed carpet - can be picked up and washed in hot water (at least 130° F) to reduce dust mites, or cleaned with dust-mite reducing chemicals.
- Have your gas or oil company regularly inspect your furnace, gas water heater, and gas clothes dryer.
- Never cook with charcoal inside your home.
- Test for radon levels in your home for at least a one-month period, if possible. Testing, which can be done with inexpensive monitors, is the only way to find out if a radon problem exists.
And here are two general tips to help you control indoor air pollution throughout your home:
- Asbestos may be found in many areas of your home: from the roof to the basement. Cover exposed asbestos that is intact with plastic and/or duct tape to provide an airtight seal, rather than remove it. If the asbestos is flaking or damaged, be sure to use a professional to solve the problem. Never try to remove damaged asbestos-containing material yourself, as you are likely to increase your exposure to asbestos.
- Kick the cigarette habit. Refuse to allow smoking in your home. At the very least, confine cigarette smoke to one room and use an air cleaner or open window and use an exhaust fan. Note, however, that many of the inexpensive "desktop" air cleaners are ineffective at removing gases and small particles.