Are you concerned about the air quality in your home? If not, you should be.
According to CNBC, your indoor air can be deadlier than the air outside, even if you live in a polluted city. Besides, the report also says that we spend about 90% of our time indoors. In that case, outdoor air pollutants won’t affect us nearly as much as indoor air pollution, anyway.
Fortunately, you don’t have to endure the negative effects of polluted indoor air. Specifically, there are many things you can do to improve indoor air quality.
If you think your indoor air isn’t that bad, it could be because you’re doing these things already. But, just to be safe, read through this list.
The following are steps you can take to freshen up your indoor air and prevent air pollutants from affecting the health of your household. Read on to discover more.
1. Change Your Air Filter
Your HVAC’s air filter is your home’s number-one defense against indoor air contaminants. You should be changing the filter in your HVAC system every 1-3 months, depending on the type and capacity of the filter. Hopefully, you already are.
If, on the other hand, you have no idea what we’re talking about, let us explain. Your HVAC, which pumps heated or cooled air through your home, includes a filter to catch indoor air pollutants. This not only improves your home air quality but it also keeps the HVAC from getting clogged up with dust and mold.
The filter works like a net, catching pollutants as air passes through it. But it can only hold so much. Once it’s full, it causes all sorts of problems.
Problems From Not Changing Your Air Filter Often Enough
For one thing, it becomes a clog in the system, blocking the airflow. This reduces the efficiency of your HVAC and the quality of your air. It also makes your HVAC work harder and wear out faster.
Secondly, it means that all the air you breathe in your home has passed through a dirty, moldy filter first.
Changing Your Air Filter
You should be able to find the air filter housing easily enough. It is located around the big, indoor unit of your central AC. For other types of HVACs, you may need to check with the manufacturer.
Open the air filter compartment and take out the air filter. Check its dimensions.
The dimensions should be printed on the side of the filter. If not, measure it. Get a replacement filter at any department store and replace your old filter.
As a bonus, check the label before you buy. Some filters remove many types of contaminants from the air while others remove only one or two. If it’s important to you that the filter removes contaminants like mold and pollen, make sure you get one that does.
Also, some filters last longer. Check (on the label) how often your filter needs to be changed. Change it even more frequently if necessary.
2. Open a Window (Maybe)
While removing bad things from your indoor air is great, it still won’t provide the good things you get from a breath of fresh, outdoor air. Case in point, air filters don’t remove the carbon dioxide buildup from all our exhaled breaths. Only ventilation will do that.
Now, all buildings are required by law to allow some amount of ventilation. Otherwise, we would literally suffocate to death if we stayed inside too long.
Regardless, surviving on air that’s only partially poisoned by carbon dioxide still isn’t good for you. This is even more important now that we spend many hours a day wearing masks that restrict our oxygen and increase our carbon dioxide intake. Proper ventilation is proven to improve indoor air quality and reduce excess humidity that encourages mold growth.
For all these reasons, open windows and doors whenever you can (and especially while cooking) to ventilate your home. If your outdoor air is very polluted, consider a mechanical air ventilation system. These systems filter the air while ventilating your home.
3. Get Indoor Plants
Another way to introduce more oxygen into your home is to get a large selection of indoor plants. This is a great solution since you probably won’t open your windows when it’s very hot or cold outside.
If you have issues with asthma or allergies, beware of choosing plants with flowers. Stick with non-flowering aloes and such. Or, start a fresh, indoor herb garden in your kitchen.
4. Clean Your Carpets
Believe it or not, your carpet and rugs also help trap dust and other indoor air contaminants. Vacuum your carpet often and have it cleaned professionally once in a while.
5. Clean Your House
Along those same lines, keep your house clean. If you see dust accumulating on your various indoor surfaces, it’s accumulating in your air as well.
It will help a lot to declutter your home. Sometimes we’re reluctant to clean because there are too many items in the way. Have a yard sale or donate what you don’t need to make housecleaning easier.
6. Keep Humidity Low
Some geographical areas are just humid no matter what. And, unfortunately, excess indoor humidity encourages the growth of mold and mildew.
Your air conditioner should significantly lower the humidity level in your home. But you won’t want to run your AC in the middle of winter. So, if your indoor air is still very humid, get dehumidifiers for multiple rooms.
Improve Indoor Air Quality With These Tips
Do you want a breath of fresh air every time you breathe in your home? Then follow these tips to improve indoor air quality.
Speaking of improvement, we have a lot more tips than these in our Home Improvement blog. Check out our Home Improvement page for tips on preserving your carpets, fixing your furnace, hiring a handyman, and more.