How healthy is your indoor air? The air you breathe outside is much cleaner than the air in your home! What air are your children and grandchildren breathing in?

We all know about secondhand smoke and fumes, but do you know that an improperly installed furnace, space heater, water heater and many other appliances, including your dryer, can cause harmful byproducts?

Fumes and particles aren’t necessarily visible or strong smelling. Children and elderly people are most vulnerable to these air pollutants. Pregnant women might also be at risk.

Particles that are emitted by some appliances can sink into carpets and cling to dust, remaining in the home and within the reach of children and our everyday clothes and items we use.

Here are some ways to avoid problems:

  • Keep a healthy level of humidity. Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping humidity around 30 to 50 percent helps keep them and other allergens under control.
  • Using an air conditioner in warm weather also reduces indoor pollen count – another plus for allergy sufferers
  • Our Lowcountry’s hot, humid and rainy climate can promote mold growth in your home. Dark spots and a damp smell can indicate mold might be present.
  • Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
  • Don’t overwater houseplants.
  • Invest in an A/C system that removes humidity as it cools your home.
  • Invest in a whole-house dehumidifier that drains outside of your home.
  • Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold.
  • Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier.
  • Keep vents dry when condensation forms.
  • Use a dehumidifier in particularly damp rooms or during particularly humid days. Your system can also be modified with a dehumidification system on it.
  • Run your air conditioner frequently, as longer periods of it being off can be a catalyst for mold growth.
  • Insulation and vapor barriers, which prevent condensation from forming and pooling inside the pipes and coils, can help stop mold.
  • Investing in a good indoor air cleaner is an important choice. Look into it this year and it will have you and your family breathing healthy air.

Fabbie Stauffer is the sales manager at Howell Chase Heating and Air, based in Bluffton and serving the Lowcountry.