How do you know if the air in your home is safe to breathe

How do you know if the air in your home is safe to breathe…

Q - Call me a worry wart, but how can I be positive that the air inside my home is as safe as I can make it.

My wife and I both have allergies and the cleaner the air the better.

Stan in Dunwoody

A - Not to worry Stan, that is a good question.

Here are 4 things you can do in your home to help insure that your air is as clean as you can make it:

- Test for radon. Exposure to this invisible, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country.

Radon has been detected in every state though its levels vary widely. To check out the levels in your county go to You will find quite a fluctuation in the metro counties.

- Invest in clean air. A high quality air filtration system can neutralize most floating germs, dust, mold spores, and other pollutants in your home. You can spend from $100 (for a basic one room system) to over $10,000 for an elaborate whole house system.

Another easy and inexpensive help is to find your furnace filter and change it on a regular basis.

- Go Low-VOC. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals emitted by a variety of products including paints, carpets, furnishings, and even some permanent markers (they are the stuff that made you 'high' when you helped the teacher with the mimeograph machine back in the 3rd grade - that's right - look at the colors!).

According to the EPA some VOCs have been linked to health concerns such as headaches and asthma to even cancer.

If you are re-modeling look for the 'low-VOC' labels on carpets and furniture.

- Ban smoking. A fire might be romantic, but studies have shown that smoke from fires can contain pollutants similar to those in car exhaust.

Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood. Never burn plastics or paper that contains colored ink, and before the season starts have a professional check the flue. A blocked or narrowed flue is a serious fire hazard.

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