How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Air pollution is probably one of the biggest problems facing humanity today. Despite international treaties that aim to minimize pollution, cars, factories, and the like continue to wreak havoc on the quality of our air.

The way things stand, outdoor air quality is likely to get worse over time, especially in urban areas.

Indoor air quality, on the other hand, is something we can improve.

Why we need to improve indoor air quality

  • Health concerns – Poor indoor air quality can lead to allergies, headaches, asthma, dizziness, fatigue, and eyes, nose, and throat irritation. The American Heart Association has already linked heart problems to poor air quality, while the American Lung Association has done the same with lung cancer.
  • Indoor air is worse than outdoor air – Believe it or not, some studies are claiming that the air quality in your home is even more polluted than outside air.
  • Then again, this is entirely plausible, as we use appliances that burn fuel, and that puts our home at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • We also use cleaning products that contain chemicals that may contaminate the air indoors.
  • If you do a home air quality testing, you will likely see how contaminated your indoor air is these days.
  • Smokers in the family can pollute the air as well.
  • When our homes have excess moisture or humidity, mold is likely to form, and it could compromise the air that we breathe inside our homes, too.
  • If you have pets, then their dander will circulate throughout your house and affect air quality.
  • We spend most of our time indoors – We eat, sleep, do chores and other activities inside our homes. When we go to work or school, we also stay indoors most of the time. About 90% of our time goes to staying indoors. Considering how indoor air can be more polluted than the air outside, spending that much time indoors exposes us more to pollutants, allergens, and pathogens.

Improving indoor air quality isn’t that hard

Improving air quality outdoors may be a gargantuan task, but doing the same for home air quality is relatively easier. Here are some simple strategies that you can implement to make the quality of air inside your home so much better.

Keep your home clean

The simple act of keeping the house clean on a regular basis can help cut down on dust and animal dander. By cleaning up, you get to reduce the accumulation of pet dander, mold, and dust in your home.

If your home has carpets and rugs, vacuum them once or twice a week. It would be even better if your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. Changing drapes, beddings, and other items that typically harbor allergens would also be a good idea. You should also keep your home free of all manners of clutter, as they gather dust which can trigger allergic reactions.

Use houseplants to help filter indoor air

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) once studied houseplants in a bid to determine which ones are best for filtering the air inside space stations. Their research led to the discovery that aloe vera, spider plant, Boston fern, bamboo palm, and peace lily as particularly good at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene, and other harmful chemicals.
These houseplants also supplement oxygen supply inside your home, and that makes them a great aid in improving the quality of air indoors.

Change your air filters

Changing your air filters regularly doesn’t just ensure sufficient airflow for your cooling or heating system. It also allows you to get rid of the dust and other airborne irritants that the filter has trapped over the last few months. With clean air filters, your capability to stop allergens from re-circulating throughout your home improves.

Implement a smoking ban inside your home

Each cigarette stick is loaded with thousands of chemicals that can easily compromise air quality in your home. Many of these chemicals are toxic, and around 60 of them can cause cancer. If you can make your entire home a no-smoking zone, then that would be a significant step toward improving indoor air quality.

Use an air purifier and a dehumidifier

Despite our best efforts, there are instances when we can’t control the source of allergens, like in the case of having pets we can’t keep from shedding fur and spreading dander all over the place. An air purifier can come in handy in such situations. While ionic purifiers may not be able to remove allergens completely, they can at least help you reduce them.
You may also find a dehumidifier useful in improving air quality at home. Excess moisture breeds mold, and running a dehumidifier in damp areas such as the basement can effectively prevent their formation.

To further keep moisture levels at home at a healthy level, make sure your plumbing, ceiling, and roof have no leaks. Your bathrooms should also be well-ventilated.

Avoid using synthetic air fresheners

Commercial air fresheners can sure give a home that fragrant smell, but know that that fragrance you’re inhaling is loaded with harmful Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs, which can cause headaches, nausea, and in the long term, damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

There are many natural ways of making your home smell fresh. You can try arranging lemon slices on a plate and let it sit in a room. Baking soda in a bowl is also good at eliminating odors.

Let outside air in

It’s understandable if you keep your doors and windows closed in the winter to keep the cold out, but there’s no harm in letting the outside air in from time to time to refresh the air inside. It’s also a good way of letting air contaminants out of the house.

If you’re somehow unconvinced that the air inside your home is that polluted, you can actually perform an indoor air quality test. There are commercially-available test kits that you can buy. And when the results come back positive, waste no time in applying the tips listed above, since you and your family deserve nothing less than breathing clean and fresh air inside your home.

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