5 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Air pollution is an international concern. While you might think it just refers to the thick, dark cloud of smog floating atop a factory or the exhaust from a truck driving down the highway, it is also important to consider the air in your home. If you are aware and proactive, it is possible to improve your indoor air quality, making the air you breathe everyday fresher, cleaner, and healthier for your overall well-being.
What is Affecting Your Home Air Quality?
According to the EPA definition, indoor air quality (IAQ) is the condition of air "within and around buildings and structures" and how it affects the "health and comfort of building occupants." This can refer to the air in your home or office, at an event space or restaurant, or anywhere else you reside permanently or temporarily.
Everything that enters your house influences the air you breathe. Here are some of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality:
- Chemicals – Common chemicals like chlorine and ammonia can create toxic gasses when they are combined. That specific combination creates chlorine gas, which in small doses can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, but in large doses can be deadly. Gasses may linger in the air for hours, and you could be overwhelmed with the fumes. If this buildup happens in your home, open all windows and doors to allow the fumes to dissipate and evacuate.
- Smoke/Tobacco – Smoking inside is another major influence on your home air quality. Whether it’s a cigar or cigarettes, secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking. Smoke is often a common trigger for allergy and asthma sufferers. The lingering smells remain in the home for an extended time, attaching to curtains, carpets, walls, and bedding.
- Pet dander – Dogs and cats shed, which gets hair everywhere. Much of this hair is swept up into the ductwork, where the furnace filter catches it so it can't re-circulate back into your home. Pet owners know that excess pet fur, feathers, bodily fluids, and dander can pollute the air in your home. This is especially the case for those who have allergies or asthma. For these individuals, indoor air quality should be a top priority.
- Scented candles and sprays – Those fragrant candles and air fresheners can contribute to the problem because they obtain their scent from chemicals. Candles that are made from paraffin wax contain toxins such as benzene, which causes your air to be loaded with heavy metals.
- Outdoor air quality – When the outdoor air suffers, your indoor air will also suffer. If you live in a polluted city or in pollen-heavy, wooded areas, your indoor air may be more polluted than you think.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home in 5 Easy Steps
You now have a better understanding of what is causing your indoor air quality to suffer and why it is important to care for the air in your space. Below are a few easy solutions for indoor air pollution.
Add live plants – Adding live plants to your home is always a good idea when it comes to enhancing the quality of air in your space. Spider plants, for instance, are non-toxic to common household pets and humans and are quite easy to grow. Scroll down for a more extensive list of indoor plants that clean the air and remove toxins.
Open your windows – By opening your windows periodically, you let fresh air flow in and out of your home. This can be done before you turn on your AC unit.
Properly ventilate – If you absolutely must use chemicals in your household, ensure the space you're in is properly ventilated. But it's more effective to switch your chemical cleaning agents for more natural options. White vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are all excellent cleaning agents – and all-natural.
Use an air purifier – Using an air purifier is an excellent way to get rid of contaminants in the air. This instrument is usually recommended for those with respiratory ailments. However, it's meant for small spaces, not the entire household. Most users place theirs in their bedrooms and living rooms for optimal use and efficiency.
Change your air filters – Air filters are vital to your indoor air quality, too. If you have pets or smoke indoors, changing these air filters as often as once a month – depending on a few factors – will help moderate dander, smoke particles, and pollen inside your home. Choosing the right air filter for allergy season is important, as it can help you breathe more easily.
Indoor Plants that Clean the Air and Remove Toxins
As mentioned above, certain plants can influence the condition of the air in your home. If you are looking to use this method to improve your indoor air quality, you might want to consider the following plants:
- Spider plants
- Chinese evergreen
- Peace lily
- Bamboo palm
- Boston fern
- Dragon tree
- Snake Plant
Any other questions? We are happy to assist. We have plenty of other helpful tips at your disposal!
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