Regular readers of this blog are already familiar with the necessity of healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). A poor IAQ can severely affect the health of your household; triggering allergies, exacerbating asthma and causing upper respiratory problems and sickness. We’ve dealt with IAQ in single-family dwellings, but how does it relate to apartments? The IAQ challenges in apartments are similar, though sometimes complicated by the air conditioning mechanism – which isn’t always controlled by the resident. The three categories of indoor pollutants: Combustion Pollutants, Volatile Organic Compounds and Asthma and Allergy Triggers are found in apartments as well. The good news is you can do several things to help control the quality of your air in your apartment, regardless of the conditioned air mechanism.
- Indoor Plants – There are several plants that can absorb carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and other dangerous toxins from the air. If you have plants that you are keeping out on a patio, bring them inside to help cleanse the indoor air. A few of the more common filtering plants include Aloe Vera, Boston Fern, Ficus Tree and Golden Pothos.
- Groom Pets – Living with pets in an apartment (especially smaller, one-bedroom models) can greatly compromise the air quality. Cats and (especially) dogs shed and can spread hair and dander throughout the space. It is important to have your pets groomed regularly and to clean them when they’ve been outside for prolonged period of time.
- Vacuum with a HEPA Filter – If you live in an apartment, you may not own a vacuum cleaner. If you are dealing with IAQ problems, investing in a small vacuum with a HEPA filter can greatly reduce airborne toxins. Whether you have wall-to-wall carpet, wood, tile or a combination of floor materials, vacuuming with the right filter will help keep the air clean.
Use Green Cleaning Supplies – VOC’s are found in hundreds of different products, many of them cleaning supplies that contain a citrus scent. A small apartment will greatly benefit from the use of eco-friendly products made from natural ingredients. You can find several all-natural cleaners at your local grocery store or, if you are feeling ambitious, make them yourself.
- Ventilation – Fresh air is key when fighting poor IAQ, but getting air to circulate in an apartment is sometimes a challenge. Simply opening a window to let in fresh air won’t help remove all of the stale or contaminated air. Unless you have two windows that are on opposite sides of the space, you will need to get creative. If you open a couple of windows and place a box fan on a table close to one of them, it will help draw out the bad air and pull in fresh air from outside.
- Clothing – When you go outside, your clothing can pick up whatever allergens or toxins are in the air. This contamination problem can be even worse for residents in apartments. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you will want to make sure that you remove your shoes and brush off your clothing if you’ve been around animals or plant life. Also, adding a welcome mat to the front door will help encourage guests to wipe off their feet before they enter.
- Clean Surfaces – In addition to using a vacuum cleaner to clean the floors, it’s also important to wash/wipe down the uncarpeted surfaces. Mopping the tile, vinyl and wood flooring will help pick up the elements that a vacuum will miss. Cleaning and dusting the countertops, shelves, sinks and bathroom fixtures regularly (with eco-friendly cleaners) will also help relieve a lot of the airborne contaminants.
It is also important that your apartment management have the HVAC system serviced and the air ducts checked annually. Service Legends offers complete IAQ services and will come to your apartment to perform a free analysis. Call us today at 515-657-6634 and we’ll schedule an appointment!
Thank you for making Service Legends the #1 provider of residential heating and air conditioning in the Des Moines area. A live and friendly customer care representative is ready to take your call 24/7 at 515-COMFORT (515.266.3678).