4 Growing Air Pollution Concerns For Homeowners

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to spend more time at home. This change in habits highlighted an old problem: indoor air quality. Environmental agencies are often concerned about outdoor air pollution levels, but your home’s indoor air is your responsibility. In other words, you must ensure that your family is breathing healthy air.

Indoor air pollution can be caused by combustion sources (oil, gas, kerosene, etc.), poor cleaning habits, or by HVAC systems in bad condition. All this can directly affect health or even worsen the symptoms of pre-existing diseases, such as asthma.

These are the four biggest concerns homeowners have about air pollution – and that you should address as soon as possible.

1. Higher Insurance Costs

Indoor air pollution directly impacts the health of the people who live in the house or apartment. Because of this, insurance costs for homeowners can go up because of damages and issues due to air pollution.

For example, last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that air pollution from fuels such as oil and kerosene costs an average of $2,500 a year in extra medical bills for every US citizen.

In addition to improving your family’s health, investing in improvements and upgrades to your home can also bring you discounts on your insurance plan. Here are some practices that insurance companies tend to value:

  • Invest in Energy Star certified appliances, which meet specific energy efficiency standards and reduce the risk of air contamination or fire.
  • Non-smokers often get a discount on insurance because it decreases the chance of starting a fire at home.
  • Install appliances such as smart thermostats or water safety systems (to detect leaks and automatically turn off the water).
  • Improve home insulation by renovating windows and roofs.

2. Safety

Homeowners are becoming more concerned about indoor air pollution, but not everyone has the resources to invest in major renovations or safety improvements immediately. If this is your case, there are some simple practices you can adopt right now to improve your home’s air quality:

  • Improve ventilation by opening the windows more often (and longer) to replenish the natural air in the rooms.
  • Dust and vacuum frequently to eliminate allergic substances that accumulate daily, such as dust and pet hair.
  • Install protective devices such as gas leak detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke detectors.
  • If your home gets very humid in winter or during the rainy season, a dehumidifier can prevent mold buildup.
  • Putting a doormat at the entrance prevents you from bringing biological contaminants from the street.
  • Stop smoking indoors or reserve a specific area of ​​the house for it.

3. Home Value

Nobody wants to live in a house full of mold or toxic substances. Therefore, indoor air pollution can impact a home’s value.

Recent studies in countries as different as China and Colombia have revealed that people are willing to pay more to buy or rent properties with better indoor air quality.

You can maintain your home’s integrity and value longer by taking steps to improve air quality. This includes controlling temperature and humidity levels, as a very humid environment causes mold formation and hot houses facilitate insects and mites’ proliferation.

You should do as soon as possible to replace harmful and highly toxic materials that still exist in older buildings, such as lead pipes or ceiling tiles made from asbestos. This will improve the quality of indoor air and the market value of your home if you ever consider selling it.

4. Aging Systems

Your home’s HVAC system is primarily responsible for maintaining the indoor air temperature and quality. This is exactly why you should pay extra attention to the equipment, especially if you are still using aging systems that can present problems more frequently.

You can schedule regular HVAC system maintenance with a specialized company. But it is possible to maintain the air quality by frequently checking the equipment’s air filters by yourself. Old filters end up covered with dust and can compromise the system’s operation.

It is recommended to change air filters every three months. Furthermore, get into the habit of checking their condition once a month to prevent clogging or contamination.

In rooms with a lot of foot traffic and maintaining the HVAC system, it is recommended to install a ducted air purifier to reduce the chance of airborne infections.

The Air You Breathe is Valuable

In the past, one of the main factors that people considered when buying or renting a house was the location – proximity to public transport, large urban centers, schools, etc. Today, indoor air quality is another major concern. After all, it’s the air you’ll be breathing while you’re at home.

A lot of things can impact indoor air quality. The most common is the existence of dust and mold. The use of fossil fuels in stoves and heating systems added to inadequate ventilation (with few windows or the habit of keeping them closed all day) can increase the problem.

Remember that the air you and your family breathe is priceless.

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