Your home is your family’s shelter against physical elements that can harm your health. Dust and pollen are examples of such naturally-occurring factors that ideally should be kept out of your home. It can be difficult to keep these airborne impurities out, however, when they virtually surround your home.
The Impact of Dust on Air Quality
In places like Carson City, Gardnerville, and Reno-Sparks in Nevada, for example, poor air quality has been a recurring issue because of dust pollution. Smog from fuel-inefficient vehicles and factories have long contributed to this problem, but sometimes, the momentary spikes in dust particle content in the air are due to natural causes. In September this year, for example, the National Weather Service detected hazardous-level ratings of 512 AQI (air quality index) for coarse particles in this region.
For context on the severity of the situation, the Environmental Protection (EPA) has five air quality level designations with “Hazardous” being the most dangerous at over 300 AQI. When the index reaches this level, vast communities could be affected by low air quality. The high concentration of particulates in the air could also trigger health emergencies.
Homeowners, especially those who have children and elderly living with them, would do well to take measures to prevent dust and other particulates from entering their homes. Frequent and long exposure to these pollutants could result in various respiratory diseases like asthma, COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, and emphysema. Air pollution can also make people more susceptible to heart diseases.
Here are some tips on how to make your home free from dust and other airborne pollutants.
Ways to Keep the Air in Your Home Clean
- Pay for regular vent cleaning in your home. Your home maintenance routine should include air duct cleaning, especially if you live in Reno or any of the other cities that are plagued with dust pollution. Cleaning out air vents can immediately improve indoor air quality. New A/C models that are in the market today may have improved air-filtration systems, but they still cannot block a hundred percent of particulates. Their efficiency also declines with time and as wear and tear take their toll.
- Use HEPA filters. It doesn’t hurt to reinforce the built-in filters of your HVAC systems with High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. They consist of multiple layers of fine, fiberglass netting that can trap particles of various sizes. HEPA filters are highly effective; they can even get rid of smoky smells that could drift in from outside your home.
- Keep your house tidy and clean. If the air in your home smells and feels dusty, the problem might not be in your vents but in your house itself. Increase the frequency of your cleaning and be thorough when you do this chore. Sweep and vacuum beneath tables and beds, behind bookshelves, and inside your closets, too, for example. Dust tends to accumulate in these nooks and crannies, and often without you noticing. They might be in hidden spaces, but dust particles inevitably circulate at the slightest disturbance. Regular cleaning will solve this problem for you.
- Avoid carpets, but use doormats. Thick, heavy carpets are dust traps. Dirt and sand can gather beneath them, while the finer particles stay trapped between the threads and fibers. Like in the hidden spaces beneath heavy furniture, dust can gradually accumulate in carpets; and when someone steps on them, they’d release the fine particulates in tiny dust clouds. It will be a good idea, however, to use doormats just outside or inside your front and back doors. They can trap the loose dust that clings to people’s footwear, preventing them from getting further inside your house.
- Grow plants on the loose soil around your house. Grow some turf if you have plenty of space, and fill in the bare spaces with bushes or flowerbeds. The idea is to keep the soil moist and dense so that it doesn’t dry up and send loose dirt flying all over your doors and windows. Dust storms are some of the biggest causes of Nevada’s hazardous air particulate ratings. Now, these might be beyond your control, but you can do something to prevent the soil around your home from drying up.
These are the five housekeeping best practices that will keep your home dust-free. As a final touch, you can also purchase an air purifier to take care of the allergens and impurities that make it past your HEPA filters.