Clean air is an essential aspect of our health. Yet many of us live in areas and homes where air quality is relatively poor. The effects can be felt throughout our lives, from nausea and nosebleeds to increased rates of cancer from second hand smoke, poor air quality is bad for our family’s health. Here are a few simple tips to improve the quality of your air indoors:
Secondhand smoke. Not smoking indoors is vital to ensuring your air quality stays pristine. Cigarettes are hazardous to our health, and when we smoke indoors, around others, we are also exposing them to the same pollutants and chemicals inhaled, and to the risk of cancer. Whereas when we are outside, the wind and climate circulates air, and plants and nature help to clean it up, indoors this smoke has nowhere to go and we will continually be inhaling the same pollutants over and over. In addition, this is the one pollutant this is not helped by any of the tips below.
Keep some houseplants. Houseplants can have a significant impact on improving indoor air quality. Houseplants act as a filter, wherein they attract and trap indoor pollutants and particles from all over your house. The great thing about plants is that they are very attractive décor that can fit seamlessly into anywhere in your house. Engish Ivy and Peace Lily’s are two more popular plants, removing toxins like Carbon Monoxide and formaldehyde from the air.
There are dozens of types indoor houseplants, for beginners and experts alike, with each fulfilling different roles in improving our air quality. Check out our article on keeping houseplants.
Turn on the AC. We all want to save a few bucks on the energy bill, but our health is more important in the long run. Opening our windows can invite poor quality air outside to our living spaces. You may think you are bringing in “fresh air”, but in reality this air can carries pollutants, allergens, and harmful particles that dirty our more clean and filtered air. This is most important when it is an Ozone alert day, or when the things your family may be allergic to are “high” on the allergy alert index.
Clean your air filters. Over time air filters can be come bogged down and dirty through years of hard work. Checking them regularly (once a month during the hottest and coldest months) and replacing them when they become too dirty will not only improve the air quality inside of your home but will also save you money. The US Department of Energy estimates that changing your dirty air filter can improve the efficiency of your HVAC equipment by 5-15%, saving you money on top of keeping you healthy.
Keep your house clean. Surprise surprise, keeping your house clean and relatively dust free will go far in helping minimize indoor pollutants. Make sure you target areas that aren’t often used, such as the tops of fans, because they could be harboring significant amounts of dust particles.
Use safe cleaning products. One of the biggest threats to indoor air quality are the cleaning products we use. Certain chemicals can cause allergic reactions like rashes and irritation, and in some cases are poisonous. Look for products that advertise green, non-toxic, biodegradable, VOC-free, solvent-free, and petroleum-free ingredients (WebMD).
If it’s in the air we will breathe it. Because we spend most of our time indoor, we want to ensure that the air quality reflects our own personal health. It’s a serious issue, and one that shouldn’t be pushed to the side because it affects everyone living in our home.