Chances are you spend the majority of your life indoors. How is the quality of the air you are breathing in your home? The quality of the air you breathe inside your home is important because it impacts your health. Here are 10 indoor air quality solutions you can try to improve or maintain the indoor air quality of your home.
Indoor Air Pollution and Health | Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.
Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
1. Purify The Air
Houseplants work particularly well when paired with an air purification system that uses activated carbon filters and a fan. An air purifier can help improve the air quality in your home by capturing even the smallest allergens and pollutants from the air, including pollen, bacteria, ultrafine particulates, VOCs and even odors. The machine then releases the purified clean air back into the home.
Perhaps this is the most obvious tip, but keeping a fresh circulation of air in the house whenever possible can be very effective. Open a window: even five to 10 minutes of fresh air can make a difference to the quality of air within your home.
3. Use Allergen-Rated Filters
Besides making sure that your air filters are changed on an appropriate schedule, using a high-quality filter rated for allergen filtration will help clean the air as it cycles. Regular filters are designed to protect the heating and cooling system by trapping larger particles such as dust before they reach the unit. High-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters will trap much smaller particles and keep offending allergens from simply recirculating back into the living space.
4. Consider an Air Cleaner
If those living in the home are experiencing severe negative health effects from invasive allergens, using an air cleaner in conjunction with HEPA air filters for the HVAC unit will dramatically increase the effectiveness of overall indoor air filtration. Air cleaners are designed specifically to remove mold, mildew, dust, pollen and pet dander from the air inside the home.
5. Reduce Chemicals in The Air
The chemicals we use in the home contribute significantly to poor indoor air quality. Here are four tips to take control of the chemicals in the air:
1. Get rid of products you no longer need, such as old paint cans and other open and half used toxic chemicals and poisons.
2. Opened bottles and jars of cleaning products should be contained in an airtight bin.
3. Consider using less toxic and more environmentally friendly cleaning products.
4. Dry-cleaned clothing spews chemicals into the air. If possible, remove the plastic and hang the stack of dry-cleaning outside for a few hours before bringing it into the house.
6. Eliminate Dust Mites
Dust mites can be prevalent, especially in bedroom spaces. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bed covers in hot water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill dust mites and remove allergens, notes the Mayo Clinic. If bedding can’t be washed in hot water, put items in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 130 degrees F.
To further prevent mites in sleeping spaces, use dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows. If you have kids, don’t forget to wash stuffed animals regularly in order to sanitize.
7. Stop Smoking Indoors
Tobacco smoke can affect smokers and nonsmokers alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children. Those include more frequent and severe asthma attacks and respiratory infections. In addition, reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have linked secondhand smoke to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Adults exposed to secondhand smoke are at greater risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of pollutants that can greatly diminish indoor air quality, so make sure smokers limit their smoking to outside the home throughout the year, but especially during winter. via Improve indoor air quality in advance of winter
Maybe this is a perfect time for you to completely stop smoking if you do smoke because your life as well as the lives of your loved ones depend on it.
8. Household Plants to the Rescue
Peace Lillies: Peace Lillies, native to the Florida wild, can remove benzene, a chemical found in tobacco smoke.
Ferns: Those long, slender plants not only give a room a little character, they also help remove toulene from the air, a chemical found in printer and copier inks and glues.
Anthuriums: If your house is smelling a little bit like ammonia, some anthurium plants could help remove the chemical from the air. Anthuriums are beautiful plant with dark foliage and heart-shaped flowers.
Dieffenbachia: The low-maintenance dieffenbachia plant has large, colorful leaves. It can also help remove formaldehyde from the air that could come from foam insulation, carpets and plywood. While these plants look great in a bright room, their leaves are toxic if consumed, so keep them away from small children and pets.
9. Reduce Asthma Triggers
Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an episode or attack or make asthma worse. via Asthma Triggers: Gain Control | Asthma | US EPA
Here are examples of asthma triggers:
- Secondhand Smoke
- Dust Mites
- Cockroaches and Pests
- Pets (pet’s urine, feces, skin flakes, saliva, and hair)
- Nitrogen Dioxide (from appliances that burn gas, kerosene, and wood fuels)
- Wood Smoke from wood-burning stoves
10. Test for Radon
If you are interested in finding a service provider to test for radon or mitigate (fix) your home, contact your state radon program for help in finding qualified professionals in your state.
Currently, EPA requires state receiving indoor radon grants to maintain and provide the public with a list of only those radon service providers who are credentialed either through:
- An existing state-run process established under a state’s regulatory requirements for credentialing radon service providers (e.g., state license), or
- One of the two currently-recognized national radon proficiency programs
Above were ten indoor air quality solutions you can use to improve your home’s indoor air quality. It is important to use the advise and/or service of qualified professionals when needed.