10 Suggestions to Improve Indoor Air Quality

When most people think about air quality, images of smog and traffic odors come to mind, but the air quality within your own home can be far worse. According to some experts, your home air quality can be far worse, according to the EPA.

If you are concerned with poor air quality in your Phoenix area home, you can click here to request an expert to look over your situation, test your air quality, and suggest ways you can improve the air you are breathing inside your household.

What Affects the Air Quality in Your Home?

Indoor air pollution is one of the largest environmental factors affecting public health today. Nearly 13,000 Americans die from the effects of poor indoor air quality each year, a substantial contribution to the overall figure of 100,000-200,000 deaths due to all air pollution sources every year.

So, what comprises indoor air pollution? Indoor air pollution consists of dust, dirt, mold, and gases that you breathe in. According to the EPA, there can be many sources for these, including:

  • Fuel-burning appliances
  • Tobacco by-products
  • Particles from deteriorated insulation containing asbestos
  • Dust and debris from newly installed flooring, upholstery, or carpet
  • Particles from cabinets or furniture made of pressed woods
  • Chemical-based cleaning products
  • Aerosols
  • Chemicals used in hobbies
  • Byproducts from HVAC systems
  • Contamination in humidification appliances
  • Excess moisture and/or mold
  • Outdoor pollution that leeches inside the home such as radon or pesticides

Items like these can leave tiny particles in your home that you are continuously breathing into your lungs to damage your health, making the poor air quality in your home a silent, invisible killer.

How You Can Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

If you suspect you may have an air quality problem or you have contacted someone to come in and test your air quality, the next thing you will want to do is take measures to correct the situation. Here are some suggestions that may help:

  1. Open the windows to get the air flowing. This is the simplest and cheapest thing you can do to air out those stale and stagnant pollutants that can affect your health. It lets fresh oxygen in and pollutants out. It can also reduce the humidity in which dust mites thrive and air out an area where you’ve been using household or hobby chemicals.
  2. Avoid buying factory-fresh furniture and opt for gently owned or antique pieces instead. VOCs or “volatile organic compounds” are harmful gases given off by the fabrics, glues, and paints used to create some new furniture. They can further react in sunlight or with other chemicals in your home to form particles that can irritate and damage your lungs. It usually takes about 2 or 3 years for these chemicals to subside.
  3. Install an air purifier to capture those tiny particles you can’t see. An air purifier can trap and remove close to 100% of these kinds of pollutants from the air in your home. Certain models can even release negative ions into the air that help neutralize airborne bacteria.
  4. Dust and vacuum regularly to remove dust, pollen, and pet hair that can build up in your home and affect your breathing. Be sure to use a quality vacuum to get under sofas, beds, and low-slung tables. Take cushions, rugs, and throws outside and bang the dust out of them. Change bedding weekly to prevent dust mites and wipe down all surfaces where dust collects.
  5. Go green with your household cleaning products. Not only are those chemical-based cleaners bad for your home’s air quality, but they are also bad for the environment. When you wash them down your drains, they travel out to pollute water sources and harm wildlife. Research natural cleaners and make the switch. In some cases, you can make your own, saving money and achieving a cleaner smell.
  6. Tackle dampness to put a stop to those dust mites, mold, bacteria, and mold that thrive in warm, moist places. Use lids when cooking, keep the bathroom door closed when showering, make use of the extractor fan and hang wet clothes outside to dry naturally. Open the windows to air out your house on nice days. If these natural methods fail, it might be time to invest in a dehumidifier to do the job.
  7. Maintain a no-smoking zone indoors to prevent more than 7,000 different chemicals from contaminating the air in your home. At least 250 of these chemicals are harmful to the health of not only the smoker but those around him or her. Don’t stop with just tobacco though. Incense sticks, wax candles, and anything else you might burn inside your home can release harmful particles into the air.
  8. Throw out your air fresheners and replace them with natural options. Organic diffusers and/or essential oil burners are a much better choice. Neutralize cooking smells with a bowl of white vinegar on the countertop or by microwaving a bowl of lemon slices in water. Baking soda is a great odor killer. Recipes for green deodorizing are readily available online.
  9. Evict your wood-burning stove and watch your air quality improve. Studies show that using this type of heat in your home can do more harm than if you stand around in rush hour traffic for an hour each day. The smoke emitted by a wood-burning stove or fireplace damages lung tissue and causes long-term breathing issues. Consider trading it in for an electric fire or radiator.
  10. Buy some houseplants and let them do some of the work for you. While this is not going to do all the work, houseplants can clean the air for you to a certain extent. Keep in mind that you would need a lot of them—you would need to convert your entire home into a tropical paradise. Peace lilies, ferns, devil’s ivy, and spider plants are ideal, according to NASA’s 1989 Clean Air Study.

If you are concerned with the air quality in your home, you can contact an HVAC expert to come in and assess how well your heating and cooling system addresses air pollution or perhaps install additional equipment like a HEPA filter, air purifier, or dehumidifier that can help. Combined with some of the other changes, you can greatly reduce or eliminate air pollution in your home.

 

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