Tips To Improve Your Air Quality
When it comes to poor air quality, we often direct our concern towards the outdoors—exhaust from cars, toxic substances being emitted from factories and the like. But, the air inside your home can be just as bad or sometimes, even worse. Good air quality is important for anyone’s general health and it is even more vital if you suffer from respiratory conditions. There are lots of easy ways you can improve the air quality in your home that do not cost a lot of money.
Get More Plants
Not only will plants spruce up your décor and get you closer to nature, they are an excellent tool for improving indoor air quality; they have the ability to not only increase the amount of oxygen in your home, they can filter out harmful substances, such as formaldehyde and benzene. You want to pick the right plants though and a 2-year study by NASA has uncovered the most effective plants for improving indoor air quality. They include heartleaf philodendron, elephant ear philodendron, cornstalk dracaena, English ivy, spider plant, Janet Craig dracaena, Warneck dracaena, weeping fig, golden pothos, peace lily, selloum philodendron, Chinese evergreen, bamboo or reed palm, snake plant and the red-edged dracaena. For optimal effectiveness, a home under 2,000 square feet should have at least 15 plants grown in containers of at least 6 inches.
Mold negatively impacts air quality and can cause a variety of problems if you have respiratory issues or allergies. While it is not possible to eliminate mold spores from your home completely, you can drastically cut down the amount circulating by controlling moisture. Keep humidity levels in the home to between 30 and 50 percent and always below 60. Dehumidifiers can help. Run an exhaust fan when showering and cooking and make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outside. Regularly clear out the drip pans in window air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
Check Air and Furnace Filters
Every two months, you should be checking your air and furnace filters—left unchecked, dust, dirt and a host of other pollutants will build up and make their way into the air in your house. They should be cleared regularly and replaced when they are worn. High-efficiency filters may remove up to 1/3 more pollutants than standard filters.
Use Natural Cleansers and Air Fresheners
Many commercial air fresheners may do a great job at covering up odors and making your house smell great, but they are loaded with potentially harmful chemicals called volatile organic compounds. According to WebMD, an analysis of one plug-in air freshener found it emitted 20 VOCs and seven of them are considered toxic or hazardous under federal law. Commercial cleansers are also loaded with potentially dangerous chemicals that reduce indoor air quality. There are lots of natural substances that act as great cleansers—for example, lemon and baking soda can be a great cleanser for the kitchen while vinegar and newspaper is a great window cleaner; do not worry about the smell of the latter, it evaporates eventually. Buy laundry detergents labeled fragrance-free or naturally scented.
Have Your Air Tested for Harmful Pollutants
You cannot fix a problem until you know it is one. There are lots of potentially harmful toxins in your house that can do a number on air quality and your health and you will need to test for them. The biggies include radon, lead and asbestos. Radon, for example, is a colorless, odorless gas that can significantly increase your risk of lung cancer.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who writes extensively about health, green living and home improvement. A high-quality air filter is a great defense against harmful toxins in the air; visit Rabbit Air for more information on improving air quality and a great selection of air purifiers.