Three Easy Tools for a Healthier Home Environment
You can’t seem to turn on the TV or pick up a magazine lately without running across a story about some kind of contamination in our air, water or food.
You can't seem to turn on the TV or pick up a magazine lately without running across a story about some kind of contamination in our air, water or food. Fortunately, you can make some basic changes to improve the quality of your indoor air and water. Check out these three simple tools you can adopt right now to help you create a healthier home environment.
Manage Air Quality
- Remove surface dust. It may be one of your least favorite household tasks, but regular dusting throughout your home can help remove particles that are potential allergens and asthma triggers, such as dust, pet dander and pollen.
- Perform regular HVAC inspections. Get your furnace, air conditioner and water heater professionally inspected every spring and fall to ensure that systems are in good repair and properly venting hazardous carbon monoxide.
- Replace furnace filters at least every three months.
- Use room air purifiers. Use a room air purifier in areas that tend to have higher concentrations of dust, allergens and odor causing particles. A Filtrete Room Air Purifier from 3M is a good option in craft/hobby rooms, in kitchens where cooking and garbage can odors linger; and in family rooms that often attract pet dander and dust mites.
Improve Water Quality
- Get informed about your water supply. Most water supplies are subject to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and are required to regularly test water and publish results. Your local water authority can give you detailed information on contaminants in your tap water*. For the estimated 15 percent of households using wells, the EPA recommends that you regularly test your well water and have the results interpreted by a qualified water management professional.
- Filter your drinking water. Although the EPA reports that most Americans don't need to treat their water to make it safe*, many people want to do more to reduce their exposure to contaminants in their drinking water. A Filtrete Water Pitcher or Water Station from 3M can provide cleaner, fresher-tasting water by removing sand, sediment, soil, rust and chlorine taste and odor. Using a water filtration solution can also save money spent on bottled water and reduce the number of empty bottles that end up landfills.
- Develop water awareness. Substances such as lawn fertilizer, pet waste, phosphates in detergent, household chemicals, even medications that get washed down household or storm drains wind up in the water supply you use to drink, cook and bathe**. Using more environmentally friendly chemicals, cleaners and fertilizers, and properly disposing of hazardous household products are simple actions that make a big difference in local water quality.
Enlist Climate Control Methods
- Control humidity levels. Monitor indoor humidity levels and strive to keep levels at 30 to 50 percent; 45 percent is ideal***. Higher humidity creates the right conditions for mold and mildew to thrive, which can contribute to asthma, allergies and other health concerns. Run a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture when air is too humid; use a humidifier if levels fall below 20 percent and air gets too dry.
- Ensure proper ventilation throughout your home. Make sure that your kitchen and bath exhaust fans, clothes dryer, fireplace and gas appliances are all properly vented to the outside to reduce airborne irritants that can affect the quality of your indoor air.. Install a whole-house fan in the attic or under the roof to pull fresh air in and pull poor air out. Investigate whether a crawl-space fan or vents are appropriate for your home.
- Keep air moving. Ceiling fans are a useful supplement or replacement for your air conditioning system during summer months. The fans keep air moving and prevent pockets of stale air from forming.
You don't need to make broad, sweeping changes to make a difference in the quality of your home's air and water. Just take it one step at a time. Every positive change you make can help contribute to a healthier home environment for you and your family.