Simple Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Failing to maintain a clean indoor environment can be more costly than you can ever imagine. Poor indoor hygiene can not only exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, but it may be the reason why you developed them in the first place. Improving your indoor air quality can help you keep your asthma and allergy in check and breathe better during both the colder and warmer months. It’s certainly enough of a reason to remove all the allergens floating around in your indoor air. However, realistically speaking, you can never completely eliminate the allergens and particles in your house – you can certainly try your best, though.
Here are a few simple tweaks you can do to significantly improve the quality of your indoor air.
There’s a reason that cleanliness is next to godliness. Maintaining a clean environment is the first step of improving one’s physical and mental health. Cleaning the indoor environment will also help in improving the indoor air quality as well. Everyone has their own cleaning routine and habits, but, if you want to reduce the number of allergens in your home, you should focus on reducing their accumulation. Specifically speaking, you need to focus on the pet hair, dust, and mold lurking around in your furniture.
For that, you should start with vacuuming your carpets once to twice weekly with a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. If you can substitute some of your carpets with solid flooring, all the better. Meanwhile, be sure to dust off your beddings and drapes daily, and consider covering them with mite-proof covers. It’s recommended to wash them with water that is at least 130° F. Finally, always keep your home clutter-free, since clutter can easily accumulate dust and allergens.
Ventilate Your House
Needless to say, all the dusting and sweeping will make the dust fly off the furniture and into the air. Always open your windows and ventilate your house during your cleaning sprees. However, you shouldn’t only ventilate your house while cleaning; opening your windows on a daily basis is crucial to allow fresh air into the house. Even if you do nothing but stay in your room all day, the carbon dioxide you breathe out will accumulate. Since you’ll most likely do more activities, you can expect more carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases to be emitted from cooking and home appliances. Better yet, consider installing a kitchen vent to filter out the cooking fumes.
Clean and Change Your Air Filters
It’s easy to rely on filters to clean your indoor air. After all, that’s what filters are there for, right? What’s even easier is to forget that filters, like everything else, also need to be cleaned and replaced, when their time is due. When replacing your filters you’ll want to choose quality filters that can clean your air from contaminants. If reducing cigarette smoke smells is your main goal, you’ll need to look beyond normal or average filters. Generally, an HVAC filter with a MERV rating higher than 8 is recommended for removing smoke lingering in the indoor air. You can never go wrong with HEPA or activated carbon filters either. Once you choose the right filters, be sure to clean them periodically as specified and change them when needed.
Get an Air Purifier
You can try as you may, but you’ll never be able to completely eliminate the allergens in your home using filters or through ventilation. If you’re starting to suffer from indoor allergens without knowing the culprit of your misery, it’s better to get an air purifier that can do all the work for you. An air purifier will also be a great aid in improving indoor air quality if you have a pet you can’t give up.
Consider Getting a Humidifier/Dehumidifier
Maintaining the humidity levels of your home is another way you can control the indoor air quality. A humidifier will help you set the desired humidity level according to the room. In places like bathrooms and basements, or during humid days in general, it’s easy for mold and mildew to grow, and these allergens can make your respiratory conditions worse.
Keep the Plants Outdoors
Most people don’t realize that adding indoor plants is, in fact, counterproductive. Although plants may increase oxygen levels during the day, they’ll only add more carbon dioxide during the night. Furthermore, they can increase the accumulation of dust, the growth of mold, and indoor allergens.
Improving the quality of your indoor air can be done with simple yet effective tweaks. If you find yourself constantly suffering from respiratory conditions or unable to breathe properly, you’ll definitely want to try these simple suggestions to improve your overall health. Before you know it, your house will start feeling more like home.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.