How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home

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Air pollution is often associated with outdoor air surrounding heavily populated, congested cities. However, it can also occur inside your home. Even if your home’s air looks clean, it’s probably harboring pollutants that can adversely affect you and your family’s health. The good news is that you can minimize air pollution inside your home to create a healthier, safer living environment for you and your family.

 

The Truth About Indoor Air Pollution

Many people reject the idea that indoor air pollution is a health concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, the air inside a typical American family’s home is two to five times more polluted than the air outside their home. This is concerning because the EPA notes that Americans spend up to 90% of their time inside homes and buildings, thereby exposing themselves to potentially dangerous levels of air pollution.

 

Don’t Use Scented Products

From candles and air fresheners to incense and furniture conditioners, there are dozens of scented products that can be used to mask bad odors in your home. Although they look and sound harmless enough, though, many of these products contain airborne pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and even formaldehyde. Researchers from the University of Washington recently conducted a study to assess the pollutant levels of commonly used scented products. Of the 25 products tested, researchers found all of them released at least one toxic agent. Some products, however, released as many as eight toxic agents, including carcinogens.

 

Replace Air Filter

Be sure to change the filter in your home’s air conditioner at least once every 60 to 90 days. With an average price of about $10 to $20, an air filter is an inexpensive component that won’t break your bank account. It will, however, help to create a cleaner, less polluted environment inside your home. Air filters consist of a membrane that stops and catches particulate matter while still allowing air to pass through. Over time, an unchanged air filter will accumulate so much particulate matter that it’s unable to perform this task, resulting in higher levels of indoor air pollution. As long as you change your filter every few months, though, this shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Open the Windows to Let Fresh Air In

Central air conditioning units typically don’t replace the stale air inside your home with fresh air from outside. Rather, they work by recirculating the stagnant indoor air. You can replace the stagnant air inside your home with fresh outdoor air, however, by opening the windows. When the weather is nice, open a few windows in your home. As the fresh air enters, it will flush out airborne pollutants to create a cleaner living environment.

 

 

Incorporate Houseplants Into Your Home’s Interior Design

Houseplants are often used as a decorative accessories in homes, but they can also improve indoor air quality. Several decades ago, NASA conducted a study to assess which houseplants are most effective at filtering air. Known as NASA’s Clean Air Study, it found that ‎Chamaedorea, ‎Chrysanthemum morifolium, Spathiphyllum and ‎Sansevieria trifasciata were among the most effective. Whether you decorate your home with these or other houseplants, you can rest assured knowing that they’ll improve quality of your air. Plants catch airborne pollutants while producing and releasing fresh oxygen in the process.

 

Vacuum and Clean Floors Regularly

There’s no better way to improve the air quality of your home than by vacuuming and cleaning the floors regularly. Dust, bacteria, chemicals and other pollutants will inevitably accumulate on the floor. And if you don’t clean your floors, some of these pollutants will get knocked up into the air. For carpet floors, vacuum at least once a week to promote cleaner air. For hard-surface floors, mop at least once every other week.

 

Beware of Mold

Indoor air pollution can be caused from any unnatural, potentially harmful airborne substance. While VOCs and toxic chemicals are two of the most common forms of indoor air pollution, mold is another common type that shouldn’t be ignored. One study found that nearly half of all U.S. homes have a “substantial” amount of mold. Exposure to minimal amounts of mold shouldn’t cause any health issues for most adults. In children, older adults and adults with a weakened immune system or allergies, however, it can cause respiratory ailments like couching, shortness of breath, nasal congestion and mold.

Perform a walk-through of your home while searching for signs of mold. Mold typically forms in humid, moist areas, such as the bathroom, kitchen, attic and basement. In these areas, you may discover black specks on the walls — a telltale sign of mold. There are also do-it-yourself testing kits that you can use to measure levels of mold.

 

If you believe that mold is causing indoor air pollution in your home, contact us today to learn more about our mold evaluation test and treatment options.

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