On average, we spend about 90% of our time indoors, and 65% of that at home. Trends of working and learning from home has led families to spend even more time there – converting the kitchen table into a classroom or a coffee table into a makeshift desk.
While we may think about the safety and healthiness of the school or office, how much do we think about the air we breathe in our own home?
With these four indoor air quality (IAQ) tips from American Standard, you can create a healthier home that is also more comfortable and efficient.
Tip 1: Control air pollutants at the source
Some sources of air pollution come from within our own homes, including airborne dust, pet dander and dust mites. Regularly cleaning rugs, carpets, furniture and pet bedding with a HEPA-quality vacuum cleaner is a good start. You can protect against dust mites by placing covers on your mattresses, pillows and box springs, and washing bedding weekly. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends a water temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, as well as drying everything on a hot cycle to kill dust mites.
Tip 2: Balance your home’s humidity
Maintaining your home’s humidity isn’t just a matter of comfort—it’s also an important step in improving IAQ. Humidity levels between 35 and 60 percent are ideal for minimizing mold, dust mites and other pollutants, including cold and flu viruses. That also happens to be the best range for our bodies’ immune systems, and even your furniture, moldings and wood floors.
Humidity is easily monitored with a reliable thermostat. When humidity is up but temperatures are too mild to run your air conditioner, a whole-home dehumidifier will get you in balance. Conversely, in drier climates or during the heating season (when your furnace or heat pump dries out the air), a whole-home evaporative humidifier or steam humidifier will do the trick. Tied into your HVAC ductwork system, these units add the appropriate amount of moisture to maintain ideal humidity levels throughout the entire home.
Tip 3: Use controlled ventilation
A second strategy is to bring clean, fresh air into your indoor environment. Opening a window will bring in fresh air, but allergens or other asthma triggers may tag along as well, so a mechanical ventilator may be a better solution. To draw in fresh, filtered air and expel stale and polluted air to the outside, American Standard has several options. For example, the Envirowise QF130V inline ventilator can be used in conjunction with a bathroom exhaust fan. For extra efficiency, an energy recovery ventilator such as the Envirowise ERV not only brings in fresh air, it can recover much of the energy from the hot or cool exhaust air to help you save on utility costs.
Tip 4: Install a whole-house air cleaner
What’s the most comprehensive solution to ensure clean air? A whole-home air cleaning system that’s connected to your central heating and cooling ductwork. Not all air cleaners or air filtration systems are created equal, however. Consult with your local HVAC dealer to find out if your system is compatible with an air filter that has a high efficiency removal rate (such as MERV 11 or higher) such as American Standard’s QuikBox.
Better yet, consider a whole home air cleaner such as American Standard AccuClean. This industry-leading technology can remove up to 99.98% of all airborne particles without overly restricting airflow to your home. This system has proven to be 8 times more effective than even the best HEPA room filters and up to 100 times more effective than a standard 1-inch filter at capturing particles such as mold spores, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and some pollens. American Standard AccuClean is also certified as asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It’s designed to be easy to clean and it does not require any costly replacement filters.