Air pollution in your home can be just as serious – if not worse – than it is outside. And since the average American spends 87% of their life indoors, you’d think indoor air quality would be something we’d hear about more often. But do not panic! With a little preventative maintenance and some basic knowledge, you can take immediate action to improve your indoor air quality today. Most home heating and air conditioning systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring cool air into the home. Opening windows and doors, running window or attic fans when weather permits, or operating a window air conditioner with the ventilation control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that vent to the outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the rate of ventilation of the outside air.
We have created a list of some tips that will suit a range of homes to ensure you breathe better.
1. Control the humidity in home
Humid and humid conditions breed mold and mildew which can trigger respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma. Depending on your location, the hot summer months can lead to particularly humid conditions. Reduce the amount of humidity in the air and curb the growth of irritating molds with a few well-placed dehumidifiers. There are a variety of humidifier options that will help maintain constant humidity levels and create comfortable living conditions in your home.
2. Keep your sheets and clothes clean
Dust mites are one of the main causes of poor air quality. They can irritate your nose and throat, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic. Mites can often linger in the fabric of your homes, such as bedding, cushions and curtains. It is important that you clean these items regularly with a low allergenic washing soap. If you have pets, make sure they stay away from your bed and sofas to minimize hair build-up.
3. Buy houseplants to freshen the air
Plants are nature’s natural air filters. Buying a few houseplants can do wonders for improving the indoor air quality in your home, while also enhancing your home’s decor. Small plants like ferns and lilies (which bloom indoors) and tall palms are the best options for extracting contaminants from the air.
- Bamboo Palm – Dypsis lutescens
- -English Ivy – Hedera helix
- -Gerbera Daisy – Gerbera jamesonii
- -Janet Craig Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’
- -Red Edged Dracaena – Dracaena marginata
- -Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena massangeana
- -Warneckii Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’
4. No smoking
Residents who smoke cigarettes or cigars often have poor air quality. This smoke is not only in the air. It is absorbed by furniture, carpeting and bedding. This can lead to various breathing and health problems in the home.
5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
A clean home is less likely to contain dust and other particles that can reduce air quality and irritate allergies. But cleaning with the right products is essential. Whenever possible, use all-natural cleaning products such as lemon and vinegar that leave no toxic footprints. Industrial cleaners can leave a residue that will affect the air quality.
6. Using cooking vents
Many indoor air pollutants come from the kitchen. Gas stoves release harmful contaminants, including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Even electric burners produce these same pollutants at lower levels, along with other particles that can be easily absorbed into your bloodstream. So when cooking, be sure to open your kitchen vents or open a window to filter the air even more.
7. Eliminate Aerosols
Aerosol products can pollute the air indoors. These are used in a variety of different products. Hair spray, deodorant and cleaning supplies are just a few of these. Eliminating the use of these can protect the air in your home or business.
8. Unscented paint
There are many paint products on the market today. You can find ones that have no scent and are designed to promote good air quality. This is important for any type of home improvement or home improvement work. Finding environmentally friendly products is essential.
In recent years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants reduce the levels of certain chemicals in laboratory experiments. There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant amounts of pollutants from homes and offices. Houseplants should not be overwatered as too wet soil can promote the growth of microorganisms that can affect allergy sufferers. Currently, the EPA does not recommend the use of air purifiers to reduce levels of radon and its breakdown products. The effectiveness of these devices is uncertain because they only partially eliminate the decay products of radon and do not decrease the amount of radon entering the home. The EPA plans to conduct further research into whether air purifiers are or could become a reliable way to reduce health risks from radon.