Some air pollutants have a 2 to 5 times higher concentration indoors than outdoors. Since the average person is indoors 90% of the time, figuring out how to improve air quality is a priority.
Air pollution can cause anything from minor irritation to serious health conditions, such as cancer. Radon can cause lung cancer, and carbon monoxide can be deadly.
Keep reading for tips on improving air quality in homes.
Keeping your home clean can get rid of potential irritations and contaminants in the air. Dust, animal dander, pollen, and other tiny particles can get kicked up into the air easily.
Pull out your vacuum regularly to improve home air quality. You can’t get rid of every little particle, but you can make your air cleaner. A vacuum with a HEPA filter can remove miniscule particles from carpets, floors, and other soft surfaces to cut down on the number of particles you breathe in.
Keep other soft surfaces clean as well. Bedding, upholstery, curtains, and area rugs can trap contaminants in their fibers.
Toss anything that can be washed safely into your washing machine regularly. Your vacuum outfitted with an upholstery attachment can help you suck up dirt and debris from your furniture, rugs, and other items that can’t be washed.
When renovating your home, do research before you buy any new furniture or remodeling materials. Many items are full of toxic chemicals that can off-gas into your home for years. That new furniture smell that fills your home is actually the toxic chemicals being released into the air.
Particle board furniture is often an offender when it comes to indoor air pollution. Glues used in furniture can also release toxic fumes in small amounts. Avoid any furniture treated with formaldehyde.
Traditional wall paint is full of chemicals that are released into the air. Choose low- or no-VOC paint when renovating.
Research any renovation materials you’re considering before doing your project. Green products with fewer toxic chemicals in them are often more expensive, but that added cost means your indoor air quality will be better.
Your air freshener and cleaner might smell like flowers and fresh breezes, but they’re anything but natural. The fragrances in most products are created from hundreds of chemicals. Every time you use them, you’re releasing chemicals into the air.
Choose unscented products when you have the option. Using natural, homemade cleaners, such as vinegar and baking soda, gets your home just as clean with no toxic ingredients.
Traditional candles also release lots of toxins in the air. If you like candles, switch to beeswax candles, which can actually help neutralize pollutants in the air.
Some plants are said to clean toxins out of the air. This includes the dwarf date palm, Boston fern, spider plant, and bamboo palm among others. All plants produce oxygen, which boosts the levels inside your home, giving you more healthy oxygen to breathe.
If anyone in your home has allergies, you might want to rethink plants to help clean the air. They can grow mold or collect dust and other particles, which can irritate your allergies. If you’re sensitive to those things, keeping plants outdoors is best.
Good air circulation helps push air pollutants out of your home. Opening windows allows those particles to escape, but it can also let pollen and other outdoor contaminants inside your house. Keep an eye on the outdoor air quality before opening the windows to ensure you’re not making the problem worse.
Ventilation systems in kitchens and bathrooms help odors and moisture escape. Getting rid of cooking fumes makes your home more comfortable to enjoy. Your kitchen exhaust fan also helps remove some of the pollutants that gas stoves create, including carbon monoxide.
Bathroom fans draw out moisture while you shower to cut down on mold and mildew growth. If you don’t have a bathroom exhaust fan, you can open the bathroom window while you shower to let some of the moisture escape.
Your heating and cooling system air filter helps pull particles out of the air instead of recirculating it through your home. This can give you improved air quality.
If you don’t clean or change the air filter regularly, it gets clogged can can’t do its job. Not only can it increase the amount of contaminants that get into the air, but it can also overwork your HVAC system.
The frequency of changing the filter can vary, but most furnaces require a new filter at least once every 3 months. You might need to change it more often if you smoke indoors, have pets, live in a dusty area, or have other conditions that make it dirty faster than normal.
You can see when the filter is getting dirty and clogged by inspecting it. Some filters are washable. Others get tossed and need to be replaced with a new filter.
Too much or too little humidity can hurt your indoor air quality. Low humidity makes the air dry and uncomfortable, and it can make allergens worse. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
High humidity encourages mold and mildew growth. Basements and bathrooms are often high-humidity areas, but you may have too much moisture in all of your rooms if you live in a humid climate. Using a dehumidifier can reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.
Indoor air pollution isn’t just about dust and odors. Gases like carbon monoxide and radon are dangerous to your health. Both are colorless and odorless, so you can’t tell if they’re in your home.
Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to monitor the air for the potentially lethal gas. Check the detector regularly to ensure it’s working properly.
Radon occurs naturally, but there are mitigation options to lower the radon level in your home. Having radon testing done is the first step in determining you need to take any action.
Improving air quality makes your home more comfortable. It can also help your family breathe easier and stay healthier.
If you’re concerned about how to improve air quality in your home, explore our environmental services. We have a variety of testing services that can help identify the specific problems in your home.