Improving Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
How’s the air inside your home? Not sure? Read on below for an explanation of how indoor air can become polluted, the effects that polluted air can have on your family, and tips on how to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
How does indoor air quality become polluted?
When the topic of air pollution comes up, it’s common to think of car emissions or smog. While these things are pollutants, they only represent the outdoor part of the air pollution spectrum. Indoor air pollution, on the other hand, occurs when certain pollutants from particles or gasses contaminate the air that’s inside your home.
Unfortunately, there are lots of elements that can worsen the quality of the air in your home. Obvious examples of pollutants include cigarette smoke, mold, pet dander, dust mites, and carbon monoxide. However, air pollution can also come from lesser-known sources like chemicals in fabrics, building materials, or cleaning products.
Why is indoor air quality important?
Put simply, indoor air quality is important because the air that you breathe in affects your health. According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 90% of their time indoors. Additionally, the same study found that air pollutant levels were typically two to five times higher inside the home than they were outdoors.
Most of the time, the symptoms observed from air pollution are relatively minor. In fact, it can even be hard to distinguish which pollutant is causing your symptoms. Often, they can include the following:
- Itchy nose and eyes
- Scratchy throat
However, in more serious cases, indoor air pollutants can also cause more serious problems, such as breathing disorders, heart disease, or even cancer. In particular, children, the elderly, and those with respiratory issues and compromised immune systems are most at risk for experiencing these more severe symptoms.
Easy ways to improve your indoor air quality
Now that you know why indoor air quality matters, the next step is to figure out how to keep your air quality as clean as possible. While it may not be possible to remove pollutants from your air entirely, you can take steps to limit your exposure to them.
To that end, we’ve brought you some easy tips that you can use to keep your air as pollutant-free as possible. Follow these suggestions to ensure that your family stays breathing easy.
Keep your home clean
Good indoor hygiene is important because it cuts down on the presence of dust and animal dander, two of the leading indoor air pollutants. You’ll want your cleaning efforts to focus on tasks that drastically reduce their accumulation. For instance, you should focus on dusting, vacuuming, and regularly washing your bedding and other textiles.
Change your filters
If you have a forced-air heating system, you have air filters that need to be changed regularly. These filters work to ensure that any dust and other air pollutants that are circulating in your home get trapped continuing to float throughout your interiors. However, the dirtier the filters get, the less well they work. With that in mind, you’ll want to change your air filters 2-3 months.
Invest in an air purifier
Like a filter, an air purifier can help capture some of the irritants that would otherwise be intruding upon your home. In particular, putting an ionic purifier in the most commonly used areas of your home can help remove pollutants. Similarly, you may want to think about using a dehumidifier to control moisture in areas like bathrooms or basements.
Keep greenery outdoors
While some plants are thought to improve air quality because they release oxygen, they’re still likely to bring in pollen and other contaminants. When indoor allergies are an issue, it may make more sense to forgo them entirely.
Let fresh air in
Sometimes improving your indoor air quality is as simple as opening a window. Open your windows occasionally in order to allow fresh air to move throughout the house. At the same time, you can also use ceiling fans to ensure that contaminated air moves out of the home.
There’s no getting around it, moisture is a breeding ground for mold. You’ll want to be sure to keep an eye out for moist areas in your home and to handle any mold as soon as you see it beginning to form.
Make your home smoke-free
These days, it almost goes without saying, but if you haven’t already, do your best to make sure that your home stays smoke-free. Consider quitting smoking for the overall health benefits, but if you can’t, make it a point to only smoke outside.
Install the proper detectors
Lastly, make sure that your home is equipped with the proper detectors. Have a smoke detector fitted in every room and a carbon monoxide detector put on every floor. Then, make a point of testing them regularly and changing any batteries.