How to Improve My Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Low air quality in a home can have a huge effect on the health of those who live inside, along with their mood. Reduced air quality can be caused by several factors including pollution from the outside world, improper building materials, along with emissions from appliances and heating.
There are some studies that have linked poor indoor air quality to lung disease, fatigue, and asthma. The good news is, there are several methods to use to determine the quality of the air inside a home. The fastest way to check the air quality in a home is by investing in Air Quality Testing. A homeowner can hire the professionals to conduct this test or purchase a testing kit to do it themselves.
It doesn’t matter if a homeowner wants to conduct the air quality test on their own or hire a professional to help with this, once someone discovers the air in their home is subpar, it is time to make improvements. Keep reading to learn how to improve a home’s air quality.
Ventilate the Home
To achieve good indoor air quality, proper airflow is necessary. Ensuring airflow is present in a home will help to remove the stagnant air and refresh the rooms in a home. One option is to just open the windows and doors in the home. This will help to refresh and rejuvenate the air inside.
However, for those who live in a busy, crowded city, the air outside may also be quite unpleasant, and in some cases, toxic. In this situation, choose the right time of day to open the windows and doors. In most cases, early in the morning or later in the evening when traffic levels are minimal is best.
While this is a smart move, the best option to get outside air into a home is by using a trickle ventilator. This is a device that allows air from the outside to come inside through a filter that will clean away any impurities in the air.
For many homes, the kitchen will be the best location for this ventilator because cooking appliances commonly introduce air pollution into a home. The vents are often part of an existing door frame or window frame, but they can also be a standalone frame that is retrofitted to virtually any building envelope.
Keep the Air Conditioner Unit Clean
The air conditioner in the home can help to improve the air quality. It does this by drying the air in the home out, removing moisture, and refreshing any stale air. Almost all AC units available today will include a filter that will clean the air that moves through it, removing any pollen or impurities.
Similar to the filters in the home, it is essential that the filters are cleaned regularly based on the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Keep Clothes and Sheets Clean
One of the top causes of poor air quality is dust mites. They can cause irritation to a person’s throat and nose, leaving them feeling lethargic and tired. Sometimes, dust mites can linger in the fabric in a home, including the curtains, cushions, and bedding. It is crucial that these items are cleaned regularly using a low-allergenic washing soap.
If there are pets in a home, make sure they don’t get on the sofas or beds. This will help to minimize the buildup of hair and pet dander.
Beeswax Candles Make Quality Air Purifiers
Many people don’t know that beeswax candles actually have air-purifying qualities. When the candles burn, they will release negative ions. Pollutants, dirt, dust, pollen, and other items in the air have a positive charge, which means when a beeswax candle is burning, the negative ions it is releasing in the air will result in the positively charged particles to get sucked in the candles or to fall out of the air.
The negative ion air charging is how many modern air purifiers work. A beeswax candle is considered 100% natural and will help reduce the contaminants in the home. They smell nice and can help create an appealing ambiance.
Salt Lamps Will Help with Asthma
If someone doesn’t enjoy burning candles in their home, they can get the same effect by using a salt lamp. This lamp is created by putting a source of light into a big mass of Himalayan salt, which will emit negative ions when it is turned on. The negative ions will work to fight against all the positive charged particles and the contaminants that lead to allergies. Some people who have asthma have stated that salt lamps have worked to reduce their symptoms.
Use Activated Charcoal to Reduce the Contaminants in the Air
For many decades, activated charcoal has been used as a safe and effective method to purify the air. It was put in gas masks during World War I and some types of activated charcoal are found in various filters. These filters can be used to recycle the air inside a nuclear submarine and even reduce emissions in vehicles.
Inside the home, activated charcoal will be a fast and effective way to minimize the contaminants present. HEPA filters usually contain activated charcoal and these are commonly used in various home appliances, such as the air conditioner and vacuum cleaner.
Household Plants Aid with Air Purification Inside the Home
There are some houseplants that can help to remove toxins from the air in a home while providing additional oxygen. They also provide a nice-looking addition in any home. However, not all houseplants provide this benefit. The top plants to use for air purification benefits include the corn plant, red-edged dracaena, Janet Craig dracaena, gerbera daisy, English ivy, bamboo palm, and warneckii dracaenas.
Make Homemade Essential Oils
A good way to reduce bad smells related to poor air quality in a home is by using essential oils. Selecting the essential oils carefully and using them in the proper quantities is crucial to use them safely. One of the most popular ways to use essential oils for freshening the air in a home is by using the following recipe:
- ½ c. rosemary infusion
- ½ cup of witch hazel
- 20 drops each of pine and lemon essential oil
Mix all these ingredients together in a spray bottle, shake it well, and spray it anywhere there are bad smells.
There are some furniture items that are made with glue that will keep releasing toxins in the atmosphere, even after they have left the factory floor. This very slow toxin release can significantly impact the air quality in a home. Be sure to choose furniture options carefully to avoid this type of slow poisoning. Find out what type of production methods are used for making the furniture selected. Try to avoid any furniture that is made from particleboard.
Conduct an All-Natural Home Renovation
Some carpets and paints contain gases that will keep emitting the gasses after they are installed. These gases may irritate a person’s allergies and reduce air quality. If someone is renovating their house, it is best to make smart decisions as early as possible to make sure the home remains healthy for as long as possible. There are several more natural options to choose that don’t include these harmful additives.
Use Cleaning Products That Are Considered Eco-Friendly
If a home is clean, it is not as likely to be full of dust and all types of other air particles that may reduce air quality and irritate allergies. However, cleaning with the best products is essential. When it is possible, it is a good idea to use cleaning products that are natural, such as vinegar and lemon. These don’t leave any type of toxic footprint behind. If industrial cleaners are used, they can create a residue that will impact air quality.
Clean the Air Ducts
The air ducts are responsible for moving cooled and heated hair through a home. They have the job of ensuring the climate in each room remains comfortable and consistent. However, if the air ducts have not been installed properly or if they are not regularly maintained, they may begin to move debris, dust, and other contaminants from one room to another.
As time passes, dander, dust, and sometimes even mold will accumulate in the ducts, which will reduce the total air quality. It is a good idea to invest in professional air duct services from time to time to ensure there are no issues present.
Control the Humidity in the Home
Moist or humid conditions will create a breeding ground for mildew and mold. These problems can cause several respiratory issues, such as asthma and allergies. While the conditions depend on a person’s location, the hot summer months often bring in very humid conditions.
Try to reduce the total amount of moisture that is in the air and reduce the growth of these irritating molds by using dehumidifiers. There are several humidifier options that will help to keep consistent levels of humidity in a home and help to create a comfortable living environment.
Never Wear Shoes in the House
Think about everything that is on the ground outside, in parking lots, in public bathrooms, etc. Every time someone wears shoes into their home, they are bringing everything that they have stepped in inside with them. With this in mind, make it a rule that everyone must remove their shoes before coming into the house. This will help prevent even more contaminants from making their way indoors.
Reconsider the Paint Being Used
There are quite a few paints available that can cause someone to feel dizzy or faint because of the fumes they create. Try to find paint that has been labeled as being “zero VOC,” or at least “low VOC.” These paints contain fewer of the dangerous and often hazardous paints that can further impact home indoor air quality.
Avoid Smoking Indoors
While this may seem obvious, no one should smoke inside a person’s home. Not only will secondhand smoke result in bad smells, but it will also increase the chance to develop cancer and asthma, along with an array of other health risks. If someone visiting the home does smoke, just ask them to take it outside before lighting up.
Avoid Using Aerosol Sprays Indoors
Using aerosol sprays may release several harmful chemicals into the air. Rather than using these types of sprays, try to find non-aerosol versions of furniture polishes, air fresheners, deodorants, and hair sprays. Also, if a project involves the use of spray paint, be sure to do it outside the home.
Invest in Radon Testing
This is an odorless gas. Radon can increase the risk of someone developing lung cancer. It is found in almost all types of soil and can move up through the ground into a home through the foundation. It is a good idea to have any home tested for radon, regardless of how old it is.
Hire the Professionals for Assistance
Improving air quality in a home can be tricky. After all, it is necessary to figure out the source of the problem and then take the right steps to ensure it is eliminated. For homeowners who need some help with this process, it is a good idea to contact the professionals. The environmental experts can conduct the testing necessary to figure out the best way to improve a home’s air quality and keep it at high levels.
Being informed and knowing the cause of air quality problems is the best way to minimize some of the issues mentioned here. Be sure to take these steps, even in newly constructed homes. Poor indoor air quality can occur in any home, in any location, and at any time.8 Benefits of Having a Zoned HVAC System » « The Importance of Pre-Summer HVAC Maintenance