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December 19, 2014

Healthy Tips to Start the New Year With Fresh, Clean Air!

Tips to Improve Indoor Air QualityIt’s a fresh start to the New Year…last year is behind us and the slate is clean. But, is the air in your home fresh and clean enough to keep you healthy?

We don’t think about it. Take it for granted even, but there is nothing more vital to our health and well-being than the air we breathe!  Between our homes and our workplaces, we are spending more and more time inside, and for the most part, the air we are breathing indoors could be more contaminated than what we find outdoors.

But, it’s a new year.  We’re committed!  The resolutions have been made and this year we’re sticking to them…ahem…well, we’ll certainly try. Our health is going to be our priority this year, so let’s not neglect the one thing that can have the greatest impact on our comfort, health, and productivity…..our indoor air.

Here are some healthy tips to start the new year of with fresh clean air:

Consider Professional Air Quality Testing

There is no better way to find out what contaminants might be lurking in the air we are breathing within our homes or workplaces than to have professional air quality testing conducted.  It offers an excellent return on your investment and gives you the information needed to target your air improvement efforts. Just a heads up…it’s important to look for an environmental testing company that offers testing plans with no self-interests attached.  This means they do the testing only…they don’t fix the problem or offer to sell you a solution to your indoor air issues. This ensures there is no conflict of interest in the results and your health and welfare are the main priority of the testing provider.

Check Your Temperature and Humidity Levels

 Otherwise known as your “comfort levels”, temperature and humidity have the ability to impact the state of mind in which we feel satisfaction within our surroundings.  When our comfort levels are not comfortable, we might start to feel unhappy with our environment and develop feelings of stuffiness, dry mouth, fatigue or even a headache.  In most Canadian cities, recommended indoor levels for relative humidity should range between 25% and 60%, with ideal levels of 35% in the winter and 50% in the summer.  Temperature ranges between 68 and 74 degrees are also recommended for ideal comfort.

Keep your surroundings Clean

I know what you’re thinking…it’s the New Year; the last thing we want to start the year off with is cleaning the house.  But, regular and thorough cleaning can help reduce the presence of irritants that may be impacting our indoor air quality, breathing and health.  Dust, allergens, pet dander and more can be impacting your environment and by vacuuming and mopping the floors we can help reduce their presence and ability to wreak havoc on our well-being.  Even something as simple as adding floor mats at every door can help reduce the amount of dirt, pollutants and pesticides that can be brought indoors.

Let some fresh air in

Regardless of the time of year, it’s always a good practice to open some windows within your home to let some fresh air in.  Using ceiling fans to help circulate the air, and exhaust fans while cooking, can also help minimize odors….and don’t forget that when were cooped up indoors the Carbon Dioxide levels can start to rise and make us feel “stuffy” and uncomfortable, so let the fresh air in and breathe a little easier.

Use “Green” Products

When cleaning, we do our best to remove some contaminants from our homes, but we want to make sure we are not inadvertently putting other back in!  Pine, lemon, and other scented cleaners may have the appeal of smelling great, and we even associate them with the feeling of “clean”.  But, often they are a leading source of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) within our homes and can put unnecessary burdens on our indoor air quality.  Whenever possible, try to look for non-aerosol, unscented, and non-toxic products to clean with, and try to avoid any air fresheners and synthetic fragrances as well.

NO SMOKING Pease!

Second hand smoke from cigarettes is a substantial indoor air pollutant that not only impacts our air quality but can trigger substantial health problems as well.  So take the smoking outdoors…and ask your guests to do the same. Candles and wood burning fireplaces can also release indoor air pollutants that can impact our well-being.  So try to only use unscented and nontoxic candles indoors and ensure wood products you are burning in your fireplace are not pressure treated and are properly dried and/or cured.

Houseplants Help!

Live houseplants do an excellent job of removing some VOC’s from your environment.  They also naturally remove carbon dioxide from your surrounding and exchange it with fresh oxygen.  Isn’t Mother Nature generous?  So, bring her indoors and see if you can’t flex your green thumb!

Just by implementing these easy tips to improve your indoor air quality you will be breathing a little easier in no time.  With minimal effort, these small changes can help you keep your New Year’s commitment to improved health through fresh and clean indoor air….wish all those others resolutions were just an easy!

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