According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. However indoor air quality can be as much as two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors. Air fresheners, poor ventilation, humidity, radon, cigarette smoke and wood smoke can all contribute to the problem. Indoor air pollutants can seriously affect the health of our families, but there are specific actions that can be taken to ensure healthier air quality within your home.

Change the air filter in your heating or AC unit every 30 to 60 days. Set an appointment in your calendar each month to change your air filter so that you remember.

Buy a humidistat and keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Indoor humidity can increase the concentration of indoor air pollutants. High humidity means moist air and can cause air quality issues due to mold or mildew.

Test your home for radon gas. Radon is an odorless natural gas that occurs in soil or rock and has a negative impact on lung health. Most home improvement stores sell radon test kits. Just be sure to follow the directions on the package for proper placement of the device and where to send the device after testing to get your reading.

Avoid using cigarettes, toxic pesticides, household air fresheners and incense. In the event these products are used within your home, always be sure there is plenty of ventilation.

Use low or no VOC paints and stains when repainting or remodeling. VOC’s are chemicals found in paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, varnishes and waxes, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment, insect repellents, air fresheners, and dry-cleaned clothing. VOCs evaporate into the air and affect indoor air quality.

Keep dust and pet dander to a minimum. Reduce dust and pet dander by washing sheets in hot water, by purchasing allergen-proof bedding and by keeping pets off of furniture.

Source: EPA.org, (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/index.html)