Nothing has made the importance of air quality more apparent than the wildfires ravaging the west coast of the United States. In July, smoke from the west coast wildfires hung over Manhattan raising the AQI to 157.
In addition, summer heat coupled with the pandemic has forced many of us to spend the majority of our time indoors. Did you know indoor air quality is notoriously worse than outdoors?
If you’re concerned about air quality, then check out these tips for how to improve the indoor air quality of your home.
Poor indoor air quality can have a severe impact on our health. Even minor symptoms (headaches, dizziness) can escalate into significant health issues (cancer, respiratory disease).
Does that sound like the kind of environment you want for yourself or your family? It’s time you started getting serious about the quality of the air inside your home.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
If you’re like many people who found themselves confined to their home or apartment this past year, you’ve probably invested in your fair share of house plants by now.
If so, you might be thinking, “Plants are nature’s air purifiers!” and assume you’ve got your indoor air quality situation handled. Well, you’re not wrong, but you’re not entirely right either.
Plants can only do so much to clean the air in a home that lacks other air purification efforts. There are many things in your home that produce or house air pollutants. You’ll need to tackles those first.
Eliminate Air Pollutants
The first step is to either eliminate or at least minimize the sources of air pollutants in your home. Here are a few things to consider.
Limit the use of the following household products: aerosol sprays, air fresheners, chlorine bleach, detergents, rug cleaners, furniture polish, paint, and oven cleaners.
These products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. Volatile organic compounds can also cause shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and skin problems.
Many people are switching to natural cleaning products. However, these products are often cost-prohibitive. The best thing to do is to move any of the aforementioned products out of the house and into a garage or storage shed.
Other sources of air pollution can be pets. Since we love them and don’t want to get rid of them, it’s best to limit the areas of the home they inhabit and maintain a regular cleaning regimen.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Air ducts will build up dust and pollutants over time and diminish the air quality inside your home. If you start to see visible dust on the ducts, it is time to give them a good cleaning.
Allergies starting to flare up? This may also be a sign that you need to clean your air ducts.
Dirty carpets and rugs are akin to dirty air. Dust, pollen, mold, bacteria – all of that gets trapped and stored in your carpet fibers.
The best way to get rid of pollutants in your rugs and carpets is to vacuum regularly. If you have a pet, you would benefit from making vacuuming a daily habit.
Ventilate Your Home
Ventilating your home can be as easy as opening your windows – that is, if the AQI outside is in the healthy range. AQI stands for air quality index. It is the way the EPA measures and reports air quality across the United States.
If the air outside isn’t clean enough to make opening your windows worthwhile, you can use your bathroom exhaust fan.
Running your exhaust fan might sound irritating, or overkill, but it’s a great way to cycle dirty air out of your home and bring fresh air in.
Change Your Air Conditioning Filters
Did you know air conditioners do more than keep your home at the ideal temperature? In addition to providing cool air, they’re also filtering and circulating the air in your home.
But eventually, their air filters need cleaning and replacing in order to keep working. Many air conditioning units will alert you when it is time to replace your filters.
In addition to providing clean air, filters also keep your AC system functioning properly. Changing your air filters regularly will protect both your lungs and your wallet.
If you haven’t invested in quality air filters already, you’ll want to get the 16x25x1 air filter for your HVAC system. These air filters will prevent dust, pollen, lint, and mold from entering your home.
You should also consider other kinds of air filters for your home in addition to AC filters. The five basic types of air filters are HEPA filters, ionizers, ozone generators, electrostatic filters, activated carbon filters, and UV lights.
Use a Dehumidifier in Summer
Using a dehumidifier during the hot, humid seasons where you live will help to remove pollutants from the air. Make sure to keep it clean, though.
Use a Humidifier in Winter
In dry seasons, delivering humidity into the air is important to maintaining good air quality. Either a portable or professional humidifying system will improve the quality of air in your home significantly.
Get Some House Plants
We never said house plants don’t make a difference. Plants are nature’s air purifiers after all. Take this as your official excuse to load up on your dream hoard of house plants.
Plants increase the oxygen in your home. They also filter out household pollutants like cleaning products, furniture, carpets, and pets.
Improving Air Quality Takeaways
If you want to know how to improve the indoor air quality of your home, remember three things: elimination, ventilation, and purification.
First, eliminate pollutants from your home. Next, ventilate your home. Finally, introduce air purifiers into your home. If you follow these guidelines, you will have excellent indoor air quality in no time.
If you enjoyed this article on indoor air purification, check out the many other informative articles in our Health section.