Improving indoor air quality at home should be a top priority for your family’s health. The air inside a suburban home can be worse than the outdoor air in the largest urban areas of the country. Does that surprise you? Modern homes are built with to be more energy efficient with little air flow between the inside and the outside. That means that any pollutants inside the home generally stay there. Over time, the pollutant levels can reach unhealthy levels.
Improving Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
The good news is that it’s not difficult or overly expensive to improve your home’s air quality. Let’s look at seven ways you can get started.
1. Open the Windows
Bringing fresh air into your home will reduce the number of pollutants in the air. You don’t have to keep them open all day, just 10-15 minutes a day will help circulate fresh air throughout your home. Of course, you may not want to keep the house open on the coldest or hottest days. Even every three or four days a week can make a difference in improving indoor air quality at home.
2. Clean or Change Air Filters
Your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, air purifier, and vacuum all have filters which help pull contaminants out of the air. To keep your indoor air fresh, clean or change these air filters regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule at first, but if you find the filters become clogged before the next cleaning or changing, increase the frequency.
3. Vacuum Regularly
Vacuuming the carpets and upholstered furniture also removes a significant amount of contaminants. Vacuum at least once a week for the best results, and more frequently if you have pets. It is important to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and strong suction. The HEPA filter traps tiny particulates that would escape otherwise escape and the suction helps pull contaminants deeply embedded in fabrics and flooring.
4 Manage Indoor Humidity Levels
High levels of humidity increase the chance of mold growing somewhere in your home. Mold spores can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions in some people. According to HVAC experts, the ideal humidity level for inside the home is 45%. That is high enough to be comfortable while low enough to discourage mold growth. Use a dehumidifier to control indoor humidity levels and monitor the levels with a hygrometer.
5. Make Smoking an Outdoor Activity
Smoking inside releases thousands of chemicals into the air. The residue settles on walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture. This creates not only toxic air but a toxic environment. Don’t let anyone smoke inside the house and make sure the designated smoking area outside is away from open windows or doors.
6. Avoid Synthetic Air Fresheners
Synthetic fragrances are comprised of a combination of chemicals that release volatile organic compounds into the air. These compounds, known more commonly as VOCs, can irritate the skin and are potentially harmful if inhaled. Avoiding them altogether is good for improving indoor air quality.
7. Make Use of Kitchen and Bathroom Ventilation Fans
The hood fan over your stove helps to remove cooking related air pollutants like smoke, steam, odors, and other particles. Running the ventilation fan keeps the air clear and removes airborne grease so it doesn’t settle in your kitchen. The bathroom is where the most moisture gets released into the air making the area susceptible to mold growth. Make sure both the kitchen and bathroom fans vent to the outside.
By following these steps, you’ll be protecting your home from potential contaminants will be well on your way to improving indoor air quality.