When people think of “air quality” they typically think of the air pollution outside. What they don’t realize is the air quality in your home is just as important. With a few adjustments to your home and some routine maintenance, you can improve your air quality, and here’s how.
1. Eliminate uncontrolled or excessive water
The first step to improve your air quality is to reduce the opportunity for mold to grow by eliminating uncontrolled or excessive water. Small leaks from roofs, plumbing, or appliances can accumulate moisture in significant amounts over time. In these situations, mold growth is fueled by moisture and is able to reproduce rapidly. Once colonies are formed, the release of mold spores into the air can become problematic to your health.
- Stop leaks (roof, pipe, overflowing toilets, laundry drains)
- Stop water intrusion (landscaping, periodic flooding, bad weather stripping)
- Reduce humidity below 50%
2. Test for mold and get rid of it
Mold testing has become more accessible than ever before with the ImmunoLytics mold test kit. What used to be relegated to only professional inspectors has now become easier and more affordable so that individuals can test. To learn about more options for testing for mold check out our Mold Testing Methods Compared.
- Find the best areas to test
- Test the area with the ImmunoLytics mold test kit
- Rip, remove, and replace damaged building materials under proper conditions
- Fog to polish the process
3. Reduce particles (i.e. dust)
To reduce dust in your air we recommend switching out your filters at least every three months, using air purifiers, and HEPA vacuums.
- To reduce allergens, use an HVAC filter that has a MERV rating of at least 11, a FPR rating of at least 8, or a MPR rating of at least 1000. (3M Filtrete or Honeywell Elite from Home Depot or Lowes)
- Wet wipe and HEPA vacuum all dust (Hoover WindTunnel MAX Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner, with HEPA Filter, EnviroCare Replacement Micro Filtration Vacuum Bags)
- Use an Air Purification unit (HEPA filtration, Photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO or PCO) – Molekule, Air Oasis)
- Seal all wall and ceiling penetrations
4. Eliminate smells (VOCs)
Scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, and many harsh cleaners can be contributing to poor air quality in your home. Some of these products contain ingredients that can be hazardous to your health, causing headaches and irritation to your eyes, nose, or throat.
- Remove all perfumes *Exceptions are essential oils, if they do not bother you.
- Use unscented detergents like CitriSafe Laundry Detergent
- Cleaning with safe products such as CitriSafe Mold Solution, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, maybe Tea Tree oil
- Avoid new carpeting
- Use low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints
5. Ventilate – watch humidity and air pollution
Improving the air quality in your home can be as simple as opening windows for ventilation.
- Use a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) or Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) systems. These systems bring in fresh air from outside and take inside air and push it outside.
- Open windows
- Use a HVAC system that brings in fresh air (often 10% fresh, 90% recycle)
6. Wash your pets
When testing for the presence of indoor contaminants, it’s important to consider your pet. Pets that live indoors are likely to contribute to mold, yeast, and bacteria contamination. Their fur can be a reservoir for mold spores and when their fur is agitated, the mold spores can be distributed into the air. We recommend testing your pet for mold using an ImmunoLytics tap test.
- Bathe your pet, we recommend using CitriSafe Pet Shampoo
- Treat your pets bed and resting areas, we recommend using Remedy Mold Treatment Spray
7. Maintain your air quality
- Periodic treatment with CitriSafe Maintenance candles to keep biologics low
- Periodic treatment with BioBalance Maintenance Mister to keep biologics low
- Periodic diffusing of Essential Oils, if they do not bother you
8. Crawlspace improvements
Crawlspaces can be the number one reason why people get sick from mold exposure. If you have a dirt crawlspace, it is apt to have many problems. Contaminants in your crawl space can get into your home from gaps, vents, or sep through the floor.
- Eliminate visible mold growth and water staining
- Create an air tunnel with one or two inlets and one or two outlets, using a small fan (can purchase on Amazon) while maintaining humidity <50% *May require dehumidification
- Or, make it pristine (>6 mil poly – Our friends at BioBalance prefer 20 mil, sealing seams of plastic, wood should look new)
9. Attic improvements
- Eliminate visible mold and water staining
- Improve ventilation while maintaining humidity <50% *May require dehumidification
- Change out dirty insulation with plastic bagged insulation
Keeping the air in your home pure can be as simple identifying contaminants, removing, and maintaining your air with natural products. We hope these few steps you’ll be on your way to a healthier home.