A fresh and clean home is not only welcoming to your guests but a pleasure in which to live. You know instantaneously when you walk in the door if there is a foul odor, but what about pollutants that are unknown to the senses?

Indoor environmental air quality is key to the comfort level of your home, and indoor air pollution is a risk you can do something about. Most homes have more than one source that contributes to indoor air pollution, but there are steps to take that both reduce the risk from existing sources and prevent new problems from occurring.

There are several culprits that cause indoor air pollution. Sources that release gases or particles into the air are the biggest culprits of poor indoor air quality. Some examples include oil, gas, tobacco products, wet or damp carpet, some household cleaning products, certain personal care products, and even fireplace emissions.

Inadequate ventilation can restrict adequate outside air from coming in to dilute the polluted air or carry pollutants out of the home. High temperatures or humidity, synonymous with Chicagoland summers, can also increase concentrations of indoor air pollutants and promote mold growth.

One of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate the source, or at the least, reduce their emissions.  Many household products today are marketed as “natural” or “environmentally friendly,” which can provide a lower level of pollutants. Dispose of any old or unneeded chemicals safely. If you have a gas stove, be sure to use or install an exhaust fan to help pull the air from inside.  Have your HVAC system and fireplace and chimney inspected annually for repair of any cracks or damaged parts.

Allowing more outside air inside your home is another way to help reduce the indoor air pollutants. Open windows when the weather allows, and use ceiling or window fans. Certain rooms in your home, like a kitchen or bathroom may have their own exhaust fans to pull the air outside the room inside as quickly as possible.

High-efficiency cooling and heating systems, clean air filters and proper ductwork can all improve air quality as well. An HVAC professional can assess your home’s indoor air quality and can help find solutions to improve it.