We often think of pollution as a problem confined to the outdoors. However, the air quality can be just as bad inside as it is outside, and oftentimes it is worse. Fortunately, making just a few changes in your habits and surroundings can go a long way toward improving the air quality in your home.
1. Familiarize yourself with the problem.
Before you take any steps, it is important that you educate yourself about the pollutants that are affecting your air. Dust mites, mold, pet dander, and mildew are some of the most common problems, and they can be anywhere from floor to ceiling, in carpets and rugs, in bedding and upholstery, in curtains, or even in fabric blinds.
More harmful pollutants are what are known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are gases, such as acetone, benzene, and formaldehyde, that can come from any number of things in your house. Paint, hairspray, synthetic air fresheners, cleaning chemicals, and glue are only a few of the sources that release these toxins into the air.
2. Use the outdoors for improving the air quality in your home.
One of the reasons why indoor air quality is so bad is that our homes are too well sealed. The pollutants cannot escape naturally, so we have to offer them a way out. Opening windows frequently can be a considerable help toward improving the air quality in your home. If you use window air conditioning units, occasionally open the vent control when you run it. Run your attic fan and any fans which draw in air and release it outdoors. Find as many ways as you can to improve ventilation.
3. Keep an eye on your filters and vacuum frequently.
Dirty air filters can be common culprits behind poor air quality indoors, so it is important to change them frequently. Not only do you need to switch out your air conditioner, air purifier, and furnace filters, but you also need to pay close attention to the filter on your vacuum. Clean it regularly to avoid releasing more allergens into the air. You can take it one step further and buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will prevent any exhaust from the vacuum. Vacuum often throughout the week to remove as many allergens as possible.
4. Go natural.
To cut down on VOCs, avoid anything with a synthetic fragrance, including air fresheners and candles. Eliminate the chemicals and use natural cleaners instead. Consider these changes for dishwasher and laundry detergents too.
Indoor plants can also play a positive role in improving the air quality in your home. At a minimum, try to have one green plant, such as a fern or aloe vera, for every 50 cubic feet. These plants act as natural filters and absorb toxic VOCs.
5. Control your humidity.
Certain pollutants thrive on moisture, so keeping your humidity at a healthy level, between 30% and 50%, will help to keep them in check. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to control excess moisture. When cooking or showering, run the exhaust fan or open a window. Water your indoor plants moderately, and make sure that your dryer is vented to the outdoors. When you lower the humidity in your home, you also reduce the likelihood that mold will grow. Preventing and eliminating mold will directly improve your indoor air quality
Improving the air quality in your home doesn’t take a lot of extra effort or money. With a few simple techniques, you can stop breathing in pollutants and enjoy the health benefits of fresh air.