Healthy Home Indoor Air Quality In A Changing Climate
Low-quality air poses a thousand health challenges to you. However, its sources extend farther than pollutants from outside the home to those in our homes. The air inside our homes may be polluted by lead, formaldehyde, radon, and perhaps, volatile chemicals from cleaners. However, it is possible to keep your indoor air fresher for longer periods of time. Here’s how:
When you ventilate, you allow for proper air circulation. An easy way to do this is by opening up your windows, doors or any other outlet from your home to the outside world. However, if you live in a crowded city, whose outdoor air quality may be even worse than your indoor air quality, you must be very cautious in selecting the time you choose to open your outlets. Preferably, it should be very early in the morning, or late in the evening to beat the traffic congestion. You could also consider getting a trickle ventilator that filters the air from outside, as it flows in.
Make Your Home A Strictly No-Smoking Zone
Secondhand cigarette smoke is one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution. Consider making your house a no-smoking environment. Cigarettes are capable of dispensing about 4000 harmful chemicals. Not only do these chemicals affect the air you inhale, but they could also result in a myriad of health complications such as cancer, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), breathing problems, heart attack, and stroke. If you have trouble smoking, try out support groups or nicotine-replacement therapy, which can be quite helpful. With smoke-free air in your home, you can free yourself from all the associated toxins of smoke.
Keep Your Floors Clean
A cleaner house is always a healthier house. Good hygiene goes a long way in reducing household dust and animal dander, things that could be bad for your indoor air quality. While cleaning, your strategy should be to try to reduce the accumulation of pet dander, mold, and dust. Start by vacuuming your rugs once or twice every week with a vacuum cleaner that has the HEPA feature. Besides the elimination of pet dander and dust mites, HEPA filters also help reduce the level of toxins and lead in your home, resulting a cleaner home overall. You should also regularly wash your beddings and vaccuum drapes and other items that attract dust mites.
Change Your Filters
If you use a forced air heating system, keep up with proper maintenance and changing of your filters. A clogged filter can seriously reduce the quality of your indoor air. Poor maintenance of HVAC systems can worsen allergic, asthmatic or otherwise respiratory symptoms, as dirty filters might transmit allergens/dust/dirt through the vent system to the rest of your home. With the use of clean, high-quality air filters, you can significantly improve your home’s air quality.
Keep The Greenies Beside The Outdoor Window
Plants are beneficial when it comes to maintaining great indoor air quality because they produce oxygen and clean the air. However, some of these plants can also collect and foster the growth of molds. A famous NASA experiment, published in 1989, showed that indoor plants can help eliminate volatile cancerous compounds such as benzene and formaldehyde, with larger plants achieving this better. However, a further review of the research also shows that while plants certainly help eliminate volatile chemical toxins under laboratory settings, expecting them to perform air purification when placed in real world spaces such as your home or office is not very feasible. For this reason, it might be better to keep these plants beside a window so any molds growing on them have closer access to ventilation.
If you want to improve the quality of air in your home, try some of the tips above. Although you might not see changes overnight, consistently following the clean air rules will make your home a safe haven, even in the face of a changing climate.
Lisa Bell is a freelance blogger writing about environmental and health topics.