Published on February 19th, 2014 | by Andrea Bertoli
Improve your Indoor Air Quality
Many of us live in areas with decidedly poor indoor air quality. While we often think of countries like China and Indonesia as being the worst, cities in the United States and the UK are not really much better (and here’s an app to find out what your ozone looks like today). While big changes need to be made regarding fossil fuel use and emissions, there is something that we can all do to help improve our INDOOR air quality. Not that one is more important than the other, but indoor air quality is something you can fix really easily (and usually inexpensively) which can make a big difference for your health.
From our archives we have some great tips for improving indoor air quality (IAQ):
- Turn on hood fans when cooking to help expel fumes. Cooking, especially on a gas stove, releases chemicals that can contaminate the air, such as carbon monoxide. Use the fume hood fan when cooking and make sure it is vented directly outside the house.
- Turn on the exhaust fan when showering to limit moisture build up. Run the bath fan during showers to remove
the heat and humidity; if you don’t have a bathroom fan, a small portable fan will do the trick. And keep the shower curtain or bathtub sliding door open after bathing to increase air circulation.
- Clean regularly to prevent dust, dirt, and pet-hair accumulation. A clean house is a healthy house (please tell my boyfriend this!). Every day, dirt and dust collect in our home. We track it in on our feet and shed it from our clothes and skin. These particles can become airborne, contributing to the pollutants and biological contaminants in the air. Regular cleaning can help limit the problem.
- Install low emitting furniture and finishes.New or recently installed building materials and furnishings can emit
volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Look for products that are certified for low chemical emissions, and open windows when using paints, adhesives, sealants, and other materials that tend to offgas during installation. This is especially important for a healthy bedroom.
- Use cleaning products that do not emit chemicals into the air. Many products used to wash floors, countertops, and windows can offgas toxic or irritating chemicals. Avoid dangerous chemicals by selecting products that are certified for low levels of chemical emissions.
- Open windows to allow fresh air into your space. To achieve energy efficiency, we seal up our buildings and tend to keep our windows shut, trapping pollutants inside. From time to time, it’s good to open the windows and allow fresh air to move through our spaces, flushing out any stale or polluted air.
- Maintain your HVAC filters as instructed. Check, clean, or replace furnace and air filters regularly, at least every two months. Consider installing a “high efficiency particulate” (HEPA) filter.
And finally, one of the best things you can door for you indoor air quality is to bring some plants into your home. There are lots of types of plants that you can grow in the limited lighting of the home or office. And don’t worry you don’t have to do the work. Look for the best indoor plant hire service in your area to help you plan your bountiful home greenery. Here is our GLI list of 10 Houseplants that clean the air, and here’s another list of edible plants that help clean your air and flavor your kitchens with goodness!
What’s your favorite way to keep your air clean?
Window image from Shutterstock