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IAQ Considerations for Elderly Family Members in Maumelle, AR

Maumelle, AR has hot, humid summers, which often leads to people spending more time inside, but you may not realize that indoor air tends to be more polluted than the air outside. Elderly family members may be more vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution. Read on for some tips for improving IAQ for elderly family members.

Maximize Natural Ventilation

During temperate months, natural ventilation is an effective way to improve indoor air quality. Open windows and doors can allow clean outdoor air to circulate into the home, helping to reduce levels of chemical pollutants and other airborne particles.

You should balance your ventilation to avoid overwhelming your home with humidity or allergens. The EPA recommends humidity levels below 60%. At this humidity level, biological growth is less likely to flourish.

Change AC Filters

For elderly family members, choosing a filter with MERV ratings of 8 or higher can help reduce the amount of particulates in your indoor air and improve comfort levels. Make sure to check the filter every month and replace it when necessary, usually every three months or so.

Monitor IAQ

Regular indoor air quality monitoring can help detect potential problems and address them on time. Make sure to test levels of carbon monoxide, radon, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), smoke particles and other pollutants. It’s also helpful to install smoke and radon detectors and other alarms to alert you of any issues.

Use Non-Toxic Products

When cleaning the home, use non-toxic products to reduce the risk of chemical contamination. Avoid harsh chemicals and opt for low- or no-VOC products when possible.

VOCs aren’t limited to cleaning supplies, though; materials used in furniture, paint, carpets and other household items also may contain them or emit them for a while after use, installation or manufacture. If you can’t find information about an item’s potential VOCs, make sure to ventilate your home well for a while after the item is made. The exact time may vary—some furniture pieces will stop off-gassing after about a month, while others can take much longer, making proper home ventilation more important for elderly family members.

Bring Plants Inside

House plants can help improve IAQ by naturally removing certain pollutants from the air. Many of these plants have natural filtration properties that can help reduce levels of formaldehyde, benzene and other VOCs. Place house plants in strategic locations around the home to help clean the air.

Select low-maintenance plants, such as peace lilies and spider plants. Place these in a sunny area and keep them well-watered and pruned. Avoid placing them near dust or other airborne particles that can clog their pores.

Clean Often

Regularly clean the surfaces and floors in the home to prevent dust, dirt, bacteria, pollen and other potentially hazardous particles from entering the air. Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner to reduce airborne allergens.

Dust mites are among the most common indoor contaminants for elderly family members. Vacuum mattresses and furniture frequently and use hypoallergenic covers to keep dust mites off. Wash bedding, curtains and other textiles in hot water to kill the dust mites.

Upgrade HVAC Equipment

If your HVAC system is 10 years old or older—it may be time to look into getting a new one. Advancements in air conditioning technology allow for newer models to be more energy efficient and help filter your home’s air better than older ones.

While your HVAC system’s filter can help catch many pollutants, it can’t stop them from sneaking in (and cooled air from sneaking out) through ductwork that needs replacing, so have a professional inspect your ductwork if it’s older. Finally, duct cleaning can also be helpful, as debris buildup can contribute to lower indoor air quality.

By taking proactive steps, you can ensure that elderly family members in Maumelle, AR enjoy improved air quality and a healthier indoor environment. Contact us at Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling for HVAC maintenance services to improve indoor air quality. Our experts will help you implement solutions that will protect the health of your elderly family members.

Image provided by iStock

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