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How to improve indoor air quality

How you can improve your home’s indoor air quality

Did you know that the air inside your home can be more polluted than the air outside? Even though the majority of us spend most of our time indoors (either at home or at work), we often overlook the effects of poor indoor air quality on our health. Symptoms commonly include respiratory problems, asthma, allergic reactions, and even lung cancer. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

Open your windows.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution levels may be up to 100 times greater than outdoor levels of pollutants. Opening your windows increases the outdoor ventilation rate, reducing the indoor levels of toxic chemicals and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Avoid chemical fragrances and air fresheners.

While cleaning products are designed to eliminate bacteria, mold, and allergens, these products often contain ingredients that contribute to indoor pollution. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as citronellol or limonene, are often used to make cleaning products smell nice. Instead, opt for natural cleaning solutions, such as water and baking soda, or purchase cleaners that are free from artificial fragrances. This will help protect both your health and the environment.

Maintain a tidy home.

Chemicals and allergens can accumulate quickly in dust. Vacuuming (with a HEPA-filter equipped vacuum) and mopping your home regularly prevents dust from building up. Avoid wearing shoes inside the house as the dirt on your shoes contains hundreds of chemicals. This will prevent you from spreading these chemicals around your house.

No smoking in the house.

The smoke exhaled from cigarettes has over 4,000 chemicals and can linger in the air for multiple hours. To avoid contaminating your home’s air quality, consider going outside if you need a smoke.

Control humidity levels.

Over 100 different types of mold have been identified that are dangerous to human health. Since molds require a moisture-rich environment with a humidity level greater than 65%, it is recommended that you keep your home’s humidity levels between 30-50% to prevent mold growth. Dehumidifiers should be used in summer months to control moisture levels. Also, try opening the windows when showering to prevent moisture buildup.

Decorate with air filtering plants.

Select species of houseplants have been known to filter out certain pollutants. Some plants to consider are: florist’s chrysanthemums, devil’s ivy, dracaenas, and spider plants. Plants can also increase your mood and productivity, while reducing stress and fatigue. Just be careful, as the EPA warns that overwatering indoor houseplants may promote the growth of allergens.

Install an air purifier.

High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters remove particles by capturing them on filter materials. These filters are effective at removing dust, allergens, pollen, and mold. If you suffer from pet allergies, these filters could help alleviate your symptoms by capturing animal dander, the microscopic particles of skin and fur, that is shed by animals.