The school year is now in full swing and you’ve got your eye on a to-do list of things that will help your child succeed:
- School supplies…check.
- A reasonable bedtime…check.
- A healthy breakfast…check.
A healthy home…. Hmmmm. You may be surprised to learn that many U.S. homes are not as healthy for learning and growing as you might have thought. In fact, the EPA has ranked indoor air quality among the top five environmental dangers. Some recent studies have found that the air inside the home is often two to five times more polluted than the worst outside air (and sometimes it’s 100 times worse). And that can have a direct effect on how well your child does in school.
Studies from the EPA, the American Lung Association, the Center for Disease Control and others make the evidence clear: poor indoor air quality is not only a health issue, but it can have a substantial effect on your child’s ability to learn. In one government study, for instance, they found that children scored 15% higher on standardized tests simply by improving the ventilation rate of the school. Add to this, the fact that 50% of all illnesses are caused by poor indoor air quality and you can see why ensuring proper IAQ should be on your back-to-school check list.
Here are some things you can do to improve the indoor air quality of your home:
Improve ventilation in your home – ductwork and exhaust fans can remove combustion gases from a home. Without proper ventilation, an otherwise insulated and airtight house will seal in harmful pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, also trapping moisture inside that can damage a house.
Ensure your home’s ductwork is leak-free – Leaks in the ductwork can pick up and spread contaminants throughout the home. Have your HVAC professional test your ducts for leakage.
Weatherize you home against air leakage – from air sealing to improving ventilation to adding insulation, home weatherization helps consumers improve indoor air quality.
Avoid using pesticides – think instead of using natural remedies.
Limit use of aerosol cans – spray cans contain volatile organic compounds that release ozone into the lower atmosphere and add to smog and pollution.
Keep windows/door shut – wait until a breezy day to open up those windows and let fresh air circulate throughout your home.
Limit auto emissions - Avoid unnecessary driving and refueling after dark – when you refuel in the evening after the temperature has dropped, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released will less of of an opportunity to react with oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a reaction that can then create ground level ozone and is driven by heat
A quick search will reveal other great tips for testing and improving the IAQ of your home. Your HVAC professional should also be a good resource too. Now, if you can only figure out how to help your kids with their math homework!
This blog was developed by Aeroseal. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.