Smart & Comfortable Home
Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality
Reduce Air Pollution in Your Home and Breathe Easier
When we think about air pollution, the first thing that comes to mind is images of industrial sites with smokestacks spewing toxic gases or busy cities congested with traffic and filled with smog. We don’t always think about the quality of the air inside our homes. The truth is that indoor air quality can be just as bad as the air outdoors. According to the EPA, indoor air can contain 2-5 times more pollutants than outside air. Contaminants from outside can get inside along with other pollutants that are released from products inside your home, including dust, pet dander, cigarette smoke, fumes from household cleaning products, formaldehyde treated/pressed wood products, radon gas, asbestos, biological pollutants, and mold and mildew from excessive moisture.
Since we spend most of our lives indoors, especially during the current COVID-19 health crisis, indoor air quality is something to which we should give more consideration. Knowing what sources can contribute to poor air quality and taking some preventative maintenance steps can help you improve your indoor air quality. Here’s some tips for keeping your home’s air cleaner and healthier for a safer and more comfortable environment.
Change your AC filter
While your air conditioner system is working to keep your home at that perfect temperature, it also is filtering out common air pollutants as it cycles through and recirculates the air. Filters in the system will eventually clog up with dust, allergens, and debris, causing them to stop effectively doing their job. Dirty AC filters not only reduce your indoor air quality, they also wear down your AC system which can lead to breakdowns and costly repairs in the future. Change your filters out regularly especially if you have allergies or live in areas with higher levels of air pollution.
Use an air purifier
Add a portable air purifier such as the UV-Aire Trio-1000P Portable Air Purifier from Field Controls in various rooms of your home to supplement your HVAC system’s own air filtration. This type of unit uses a combination of multi-stage air HEPA filtration and ultraviolet (UV) light to clean, purify, and freshen the air in your indoor spaces. The filters trap airborne particles such as dust, dander, pollen, mold, and other contaminants as small as 0.3 microns in size to improve air quality. The air purifier also irradiates the air as it circulates through in with UV light that disinfects the air to protect against harmful disease-causing viruses, germs, and bacteria. You’ll breathe easier and stay healthier, knowing your air is fresh, clean, germ and odor-free.
Swap out other household filters
Besides your AC unit, other household appliances use filters or have vents that circulate air. Remember to clean or replace them regularly, generally every few months or quarterly is a good rule of thumb. Inspect and clean filters in your vacuum cleaner, the air vent in your clothes dryer (it’s best to clean the lint trap after each use), your range hood above the stove, your furnace filter, your bathroom air vent, and other appliances such as humidifiers and refrigerators.
Clean out your air ducts
The air ducts in your home’s HVAC system distribute the hot and cold air throughout every room of your home. If not maintained properly, they can also distribute contaminants with the air into each room. Air pollutants including dust, mold spores, dander, and other particles can accumulate in the ductwork over time, effecting your home’s air quality. Routine cleaning by a professional will ensure your ducts are circulating only fresh, clean air.
Use a range hood when cooking
Your kitchen is a source of many indoor pollutants. Both gas and electric stoves can release harmful contaminants into the air during use. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other fumes can build up along with grease particles and other pollutants that get added to the air in this room. When you’re cooking, make sure you turn on your range hood to filter and vent out these contaminants and open a window when weather permits to help freshen the air even more.
Regularly change the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors warn us if there are harmful fumes in the air. Make sure you regularly inspect them and change out the batteries to ensure they are working at optimal performance. At a minimum, you should install at least one for each floor or level of your home including the basement and one in or just outside each sleeping area. If multiple bedrooms adjoin a common hall, one detector in the hall can provide protection for all the bedrooms.
Clean rugs and carpets regularly
Although they provide warmth and comfort in your home, rugs also contribute to reduced air quality. Carpets act as mini air filters, trapping dust, dirt, and other pollutants in their fibers. Vacuum them at least weekly and shampoo or steam clean them regularly. You can rent carpet cleaners, buy home-grade equipment, or hire professional carpet cleaners to periodically deep clean your rugs, carpets, and upholstery.
Keep humidity under control
Moist conditions create a breeding ground for mold and mildew that can trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. If you live in an area with hot, humid weather for even part of the year, you can experience humidity in your home. Running a dehumidifier during seasons with wet or humid weather will help reduce the build-up of moisture and help maintain consistent humidity levels to impede the growth of mold and mildew.
Add indoor plants to freshen air
Plants naturally filter the air, and replace carbon dioxide with oxygen in the surrounding environment. Adding some houseplants to your home helps improve its indoor air quality by removing impurities from the air while refreshing the oxygen levels. Plants especially blooming varieties also enhance the look of your décor while bringing a touch of the natural world inside. The best plants for improving air quality are ferns, lilies, bamboo, rubber plants, Dracaena (corn plants), English ivy, Philodendrons, Ficus, Golden Pothos, and varieties of palm trees.