When you're looking to make interior improvements in your home, small or large, you might not put much thought into the air around you. After all, it's not something you can see. However, as you and your family breathe in this air regularly, it's worth paying attention to how you can improve the odor, overall feel and health of your family with proper maintenance. While you hear a lot about outdoor pollutants, with indoor air the pollutant levels can actually get two to five times higher. That's no statistic to overlook.
Indoor air quality affects more than the people inside your house, too. It can also contribute to the overall property value of your home. Through a combination of leaning on home service professionals and performing some manageable work yourself, you can keep your home's air as pristine as you like to keep your lawn and maintain the value of your investment. If indoor air quality hasn't been a concern of yours, it's time to think twice before you move on to the next home maintenance item on your list.
How Indoor Air Affects the Property Value of Your Home
The air inside your home has the ability to affect your house in a number of ways. If your air has too much moisture, you have the right conditions for allowing mold to form around the house. Also, wood can swell and buckle, bugs and dust mites can spread and other problems can form. Aside from moisture, fluctuating indoor temperatures can cause your foundation, as well as caulk and sealants, to crack.
These are the kinds of problems that can create damage around your home and decrease its value. But if you take the proper proactive steps to improve your home's air quality, which includes controlling the temperature and moisture levels, you can prevent these problems and maintain the integrity and aesthetic beauty of your home in the long run. Not only will this maintenance protect the value of your investment, but it will also enhance buyer interest in your home when you're ready to sell. Now that's a win-win.
Steps You Can Take to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Let's take a look at what home maintenance items can impact your home's indoor air quality, as well as steps you can take on a regular basis to address any contributing factors. Some of these steps are simple while others are more involved, so pick and choose which ones work for you now and in the future.
Stop the Problem at the Source
The Environmental Protection Agency says the one method that tends to work the best for better air quality indoors is focusing on the sources of pollution. See if you can eliminate potential pollution sources, and try to cut down on the emissions of sources that can't be removed, such as adjusting the pilot light on a gas stove. Other methods of controlling indoor pollutants include enclosing sources of asbestos, stopping use of wood-burning fireplaces and halting indoor cigarette use. Although you can attempt to ventilate these sources, stopping or reducing the pollutant is more effective.
Focus on Ventilation
Since you can't get rid of all sources of pollution in your home, you also need to make ventilation a priority. Make sure that you effectively ventilate your bathrooms and other rooms that hold extra moisture through fans, windows and air conditioning. Use the exhaust fan over the stove when cooking to catch grease and other cooking contaminants. Bring fresh air into your home by leaving the windows open sometimes and using attics or window fans.
You could also look into HVAC systems that bring air from the outdoors into your house. While it's important to circulate and bring in fresh air on a regular basis, you should always do this when your home is exposed to extra contaminants; think when you produce smoke from cooking, when you paint your bathroom or when you use a potent super glue for crafts or projects.
Follow Smart Cleaning Practices
Certain ways of cleaning promote improved air quality in your home, too. For instance, dusting with damp fabric actually catches the dust instead of spreading it, and using a HEPA filter in your vacuum catches small dust particles and allergens instead of blowing them around.
Also, as a substitute for spraying chemical air fresheners or using candles with pollutants to eliminate odors, choose nontoxic candles and essential oils. An article on MyHomeIdeas recommends pure essential oils instead of their unnatural counterparts. Additionally, simply buying some houseplants and putting them in various rooms helps to naturally filter the air.
You should also concentrate on the cleaners you use. While many products on the market are designed for cleaning, these chemical products are actually releasing toxins into the air. You can achieve healthier indoor air by choosing nontoxic and non-aerosol cleaning products.
Maintain Your HVAC Systems
Your home's HVAC system is essential to maintaining indoor air quality. By having the heating, cooling and ventilation regularly maintenanced, you can ensure that these systems are working correctly to keep the temperature, moisture and airflow consistent. For instance, you can routinely change air filters on your own, which helps keep your HVAC system from becoming clogged and lessens the contaminants that will flow into the air.
You should also have your system seasonally serviced and maintained by HVAC experts to keep it clean and running efficiently. And for good measure, next time they're at your home, talk to your preferred HVAC professionals about how to obtain the perfect temperature and humidity levels to prevent mold growth and other problems that can depreciate the longevity and value of your home.
Renovate for a Healthier Home
Certain renovations can make it easier to maintain the quality of your home's air. While these renovations require effort and an investment up front, they help ensure your home's value in the long run. An article on HGTV suggests removing your carpeting in favor of hard floors. Your aged carpeting can contain all sorts of unwelcome particles and contaminants that spread into the air whenever you walk. And if you have pets, carpet is a welcomed haven for dander and dirt. Consider choosing a lower maintenance laminate flooring, tile or hardwood. On top of improving your home's air quality, these renovations will be a stylish update for a house of any age.
In addition to renovating your floors, if you have outdated windows and doors, consider making updates. Not only do older windows and doors decrease your energy and HVAC efficiency, but they tend to let the outdoor environment in. Avoid letting moisture seep inside and keep your indoor temperature consistent to ensure your home's indoor air quality isn't slowly depreciating your property value. If it's not time for a full replacement, consider re-sealing doors and windows that need some attention.
Another important step during any renovation project is to choose products that will give off less pollution. For instance, pick cabinetry and hard flooring without formaldehyde and opt for paint with low or no VOCs, which are solvents that can enter the air.
Protect What Matters Most
Hopefully you now have a strong grasp on what factors affect not only the air your family breathes, but the property value of your home. Don't let your home's air depreciate your quality of life or the value of your investment. Be smart about indoor pollutants, keep your HVAC system clean and maintained and renovate when it's necessary. By following these steps, you'll protect what's most important to you: your family and your home.