According to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends up to 90% of their time indoors. This includes time spent in the home, office, school, restaurant, shopping mall, and other buildings. What this data shows is that we spend the most time in environments where the degree of air pollution is potentially higher.
Yes, that is correct! Indoor spaces are likely to be two to five times more polluted than outside spaces. This is partly because the HVAC and energy-saving systems of our buildings limit the free flow of air in and out of the structure. Although this is great for more efficient heating, cooling, and energy use, it can create problems with indoor air quality.
This is simply because air pollutants are trapped and continuously recycled within the enclosed space of the building. Also, the use of synthetic building materials, personal care products, furnishing, and household cleaners compound the issue. These often release dangerous substances that further compromise the indoor air quality of buildings.
As the owner of a rental property, how can you solve this problem for the people who live in your rental? Indoor air quality plays a big role in how long tenants stay in your property. If after a tenant moves in, they and their family start experiencing incessant health issues, they may not renew the lease. As a matter of fact, they may terminate it prematurely.
Therefore, improving indoor air quality in your rental can enhance your ability to retain good tenants in the property. What can you do to make the air quality in your rental property better?
1. Maintain the HVAC system
The place to start is with proper maintenance of the heating and cooling systems in the home. Changing the appliances’ filters as recommended will help maintain good indoor air quality. In addition to changing filters regularly, the size of the filter pores is important.
2. Choose low-VOC products
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals that are emitted from certain products that are used in the home. Common sources of VOCs are paints & solvents, pesticides, wood preservatives, air-fresheners, and building/furnishing materials. Eliminating or reducing VOC sources will improve indoor air quality.
3. Buy an air purifier
Air purifiers can remove many different types of contaminants from the air inside a room. They will filter out dust, pollen, dander, mold spores, dust mite feces, and even second-hand tobacco smoke. For the best results, a Reme Halo LED air purifier is recommended. Click here to learn more about this product!
4. Install an extracting cooker hood
Another significant source of air contaminants in the home is cooking. Grease, smoke, and moisture from the kitchen can worsen the condition of people with allergies and respiratory issues. Installing an extracting cooker hood is the best way to deal with this problem.
5. Resolve damp and mold issues
High humidity levels can create respiratory problems or worsen existing respiratory problems. Damp encourages the growth of mold and mildew, which can be very damaging to people’s health. Dealing with damp issues makes it easier to stop mold growth.
6. Remove stale air with exhaust fans
Installing exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room will help remove most of the VOCs and a good proportion of the carbon dioxide that often builds up in the home. Without exhaust fans, the gas and vapor will have nowhere to go, except into people’s lungs.
7. Buy a HEPA filter vacuum
A HEPA filter traps 99.97% of particles, even when the particles are no more than 0.3 microns in size. Using a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter ensures that more contaminants will be removed when the home is vacuumed.
8. Vacuum frequently
Regular vacuuming significantly reduces the level of indoor air pollution. Frequent vacuuming is even more important if there are pets in the home or other apartments within the building. Regular cleaning removes dander and any pollen that is transported into the home by pets.
9. Use natural cleaning products
Cleaning products with synthetic raw materials often contain VOC-emitting substances. Using cleaning products made from natural raw materials reduces this risk. Cleaning products that do not constitute any danger to human health include e-cloths, white vinegar, and baking soda.
10. Open your windows to air the home
Since the air outside the home is often less polluted than the one inside, it makes sense to open the windows often to let in outside air. This is an easy and cost-effective way to remove pollutants from indoor air. Windows should not be opened in the morning when the pollen count is highest. They should be opened when cleaning the home, to let out residues from cleaning products.
In conclusion, some of the things on this list cannot be done by landlords. Many of them are things that only the tenant can do for themselves. This means that after you have done your part as a landlord, you should also educate your tenants on what they can do to improve indoor air quality in their units. Most renters will be grateful for this advice.