Healthy and Efficient Homes

We're working to advance solutions that improve indoor air quality and make homes healthier.

On average, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, so indoor air quality is critical to the health of families. Through the new Healthy and Efficient Homes campaign, the American Lung Association is promoting practical short- and long term solutions to the health risk of indoor air pollution from gas, propane, oil and wood-burning appliances.

Household Appliances Can Affect Indoor Air Quality

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Steps to Protect Your Family from Indoor Air Pollution

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Americans spend about 90% of our time indoors, making good indoor air quality critical to the health of families. Cleaning products, mold and moisture, pests and even the appliances that we use, such as our water heater, furnace and stove, can all impact our air quality.  

Appliances that burn natural gas, propane, heating oil or wood can release hazardous pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, benzene and carbon monoxide into our homes. Using these appliances may increase the risk of breathing problems, asthma attacks, respiratory infections and other health harms – especially for children and the elderly. 

There are simple steps that families can take to protect ourselves from indoor air pollution, including ensuring we have a carbon monoxide detector, avoiding unnecessary wood burning in our homes and using a vent hood or opening a window when cooking on a gas stove.  

Now is a good time to transition to newer, efficient electric appliances. Making the change will improve indoor air quality and help our families breathe easier. Learn more at Lung.org/Healthy-Efficient-Homes

How to Protect Your Health

If you rely on combustion appliances for heating, hot water and/or cooking, there are some immediate steps you can take to reduce your risk from exposure to harmful pollutants: 

  • Make sure your gas appliances are in proper working order. 
  • Install carbon monoxide monitors. 
  • Use ventilation, either a range hood that vents to the outside or an open window or both. 
  • For homes that rely on wood burning for heat or cooking, an air cleaning devise that uses HEPA filtration can provide some protection from the soot and smoke.

Working for Practical Solutions

Federal, state and local government entities can take steps to reduce building emissions, improve air quality and advance energy efficiency and climate goals: 

  • Increase appliance efficiency and safety standards, including setting zero-emission appliance standards.
  • Establish building codes and building performance standards for ventilation, energy efficiency and reduced direct emissions. 
  • Expand incentive programs for the purchase and installation of cleaner more efficient appliances, with a focus on equity. 
  • Eliminate industry subsidies for expansion of gas lines into new communities. 
  • Transition to healthy, all-electric construction in new buildings and major renovations.
  • The Health Harms of Fuel-Burning Appliances Factsheet

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  • The Health Impact of Combustion in Homes Policy Brief

    Download

Page last updated: June 7, 2024

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