How to Improve IAQ for Elderly Family Members

Many elderly people spend their time indoors, becoming more vulnerable to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). The contaminants arise from different sources, such as dust, dander, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bio-contaminants. Here are ways to improve the IAQ in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Check the Filters

The filters help trap air pollutants, allowing clean air circulation in your home. When the filters are too dirty, they can do little to capture contaminants. Hence, inspecting and changing the filters as often as possible is essential.

Your choice of filters for your furnace will significantly impact indoor air quality. Choosing cheap standard filters isn’t a good idea if you live with elderly family members. Standard air filters can’t trap microbial and pollen, exposing seniors to allergies and respiratory illnesses.

The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) is the guiding factor when choosing a filter for elderly family members. The MERV rating shows the efficiency with which a filter can trap contaminants. The higher the MERV rating, the harder it is for minuscule particles and allergens to penetrate.

You may have heard of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and wondered what they are. These are air filters with an equivalent MERV rating of 17 or above that have abilities to trap particulates sized 0.3 microns and below. Most HEPA filters have activated carbon to trap odors, smoke and VOCs. Many air purifiers have these filters.

High-efficiency filters may reduce the airflow in the home, leading to other issues. For this reason, consult your HVAC expert before considering an upgrade. Your service tech may need to adjust the blower motor to ensure proper air circulation.

Ventilate Your Home

When the weather permits, proper aeration of your home enhances good IAQ. Opening the windows and doors can help replace stale air with fresh air. However, if you live in downtown Myrtle Beach, avoid toxic fumes by opening your windows and doors in the early morning or late evening.

The kitchen and bathroom fans can help increase the natural ventilation rate in those spaces. Consider performing hobbies such as painting, construction and welding outdoors to limit the concentration of pollutants indoors. Adopting such ventilation will help reduce your home’s toxic fumes and excessive moisture.

Limit Polluting Products

Some consumer goods, such as air fresheners, paints, personal care, furniture, carpet adhesives and cleaning products, emit harmful by-product chemicals. For example, some detergents contain formaldehyde, terpenes and glycol ethers that disintegrate into toxic VOCs. Also, some fragrance scents in perfumes, air fresheners and body products have extreme VOC levels.

The U.S. government banned the use of asbestos in home construction to avoid the health complications they pose. Nonetheless, if you’re an elderly person living in an old building, chances are that asbestos was part of the construction. Consult an HVAC service tech to determine asbestos levels in your home.

Tobacco smoking produces indoor air pollutants and affects the health of smokers and other inhabitants. Long-term effects of residue from cigarette smoking contribute to poor IAQ in the home. If quitting smoking within your home is impossible, consider changing the air filters after seven days.

The use of pesticides to kill and repel rodents, insects and flies has lingering effects. The health effects include elevated cancer risks, respiratory conditions, irritations and allergic reactions. You should only purchase regulated and organic products to safeguard the health of elderly family members.

Adopt Regular Cleaning Habits

Keeping your home tidy can help to remove dirt, dust mites and harmful remnants in your surroundings. Moreover, cleaning helps your HVAC system to have better air circulation and to last longer. Ensure routine cleaning of the floors, walls and fabrics with approved low VOC products.

Add Household Plants

Plants add therapeutic aesthetic effects to your home. Moreover, they help absorb unwanted gases while providing you with oxygen. For these reasons, we recommend purchasing effective toxin-filtering and low-maintenance plants for your home.

If you’re elderly with persistent headaches, dizziness or respiratory issues, you may need to inspect your IAQ. Contact us at Warren-Hay Mechanical; we are experts in indoor air quality and can help you overcome these conditions.

Image provided by iStock

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