Spring in Toronto and the GTA is finally here and it looks like the weather will finally stay to reflect it, at least in the short-term. With spring comes the feeling of renewal, sunlight that last later into the evening, and also the urge to thoroughly clean your home. You’ve been stuck inside all winter long, so now it’s finally time to open the windows and think about your indoor air quality.
Indoor Air Quality: Toronto & Canada
It’s shocking to hear that Canadians spend almost 90% of their time inside, either at home, work or other environments. As a result we’re not overly exposed to the fresh outdoor air that our governments have fought so hard to achieve over the years. Even in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, smog days have all but disappeared and air quality is at an all-time high. Regardless of the improving air quality around us we still spend the majority of out time inside, which is why it’s important to consider what our indoor air quality is like, especially at home where we sleep.
There are a number of different things that can affect the indoor air quality of your home. They can typically be broken down into:
- Biological Pollutants: These are living organisms that have the ability to pollute the air in your home. They include thing like mould, bacteria and dust mites.
- Chemical Pollutants: These are gasses and other airborne particles that come from appliances throughout your home that rely on combustion, tobacco products, personal care products, building materials, and other household cleaners.
These pollutants are evident in every home, but the concentration of them is what really matters. Homes that are air tight and don’t have great ventilation are at the highest risk of poor indoor air quality.
Luckily there are numerous ways to combat poor indoor air quality and ensure the air you and your family are breathing is healthy. So while you’re taking care of all the spring cleaning you typically do, like ridding your closet of old clothes, trashing old shoes, and cleaning in places you don’t normally clean, it’s important that you don’t overlook cleaning the air in your home too.
Cleaning The Air In Your Home
Cleaning the air doesn’t mean that you need to spray odour-killing chemicals or Febreeze all over your house, this will actually make it worse! Here are a few tried a true ways to clean the air in your home without ruining your summer vacation budget.
- Change Your Furnace Filter: To some people this is something they do regularly to ensure the efficiency of their furnace and air conditioner, but to some they might not even know that their furnace had a filter. This filter is an important part of your home’s HVAC system and essentially filters all the air in circulation throughout your home. Allowing it to get too dirty can result in poor air quality as it fails to filter any particles, but also reduces the efficiency of your furnace and air conditioner as they now have to work harder to warm and cool your home.
- Vacuuming & Dusting: Few people enjoy this type of cleaning and it often get’s put off until later, whenever that is. Properly vacuuming and dusting your home right after changing your furnace filter is a great way to blitz the particles that are floating in the air. If you don’t feel like cleaning there are affordable cleaning services in Toronto that can save you lots of cleaning time.
- No Smoking: One of the worst pollutants to invade your home is tobacco smoke. Simply stepping outside for your next smoke can eliminate a whole litany of chemicals from the air in your home.
- Fuel-Burning Appliances: Depending on the types of appliances you have your furnace, water heater, and stove might all burn natural gas to work properly. Having these appliances inspected on an annual basis and properly maintained is essential to ensure they aren’t negatively impacting the air quality in your home. Regular maintenance appointments are very affordable and also ensure the efficiency of your appliances, so you’ll save money on your energy bills too.
- Proper Ventilation: Make sure that places like basements and bathrooms that have higher amounts of moisture are properly ventilated. This helps reduce the risk of mould growth, which can easily become airborne and cause respiratory problems.
- Garage Etiquette: If you have a garage that’s attached to your home don’t idle your car or other gas-powered equipment inside, even with the door open. Carbon monoxide and other gasses can build up and remain in the air in your garage, which easily transfers to your home when the connecting door is opened.
- Painting: Even though many newer types of paint don’t produce fumes it’s still a good idea to paint with the windows open. Also, once you’re finished painting it’s important not to store paints, varnishes, and other solvents inside your home.
Many ways to improve the air quality in your home might seem like common sense, but it isn’t something that people think about all the time. Slight changes to your daily routine or cleaning and home maintenance habits can ensure that you and you family have clean and refreshing air to breath when you’re not outside enjoying the warm summer sun.