Learn how to improve indoor air quality to live a better life and prevent possible health problems caused by indoor air pollution.
People tend to think that air pollution is something significant only on the outside environment. The word pollution automatically triggers the thought of pollutants such as smog, ozone, and haze hanging in the air.
The word pollution automatically triggers the thought of pollutants such as smog, ozone, and haze hanging in the air.
However, the truth is that air contamination also occurs indoors where we live.
Children, the asthmatic individuals, and the elderly will be the first to experience the effects of indoor air pollution. Other effects are long-term and will only manifest themselves years to come.
Sources of indoor pollutants
Pollution of indoor air results from various activities that the residents do on a regular basis. The following are some of the sources:
- Chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, fire retardants, radon, volatile chemicals from fragrance, etc.
- Smoking indoors or smoke carried indoors on clothing.
- Household cleaning and maintenance products.
- Too much moisture in the room.
- Pesticides and pollen carried on shoes.
- Excess moisture in the house.
- Poor air circulation in the room.
Signs of Air Pollution
- Sneezing and frequently coughing while at home.
- Waking up with a slight headache or when congested.
- Nose, throat, and eyes irritations.
- Long-term effects such as asthma and respiratory infections.
Ways of Improving Indoor Air Quality:
You will have to reduce the number of colds as well as limiting the number of asthma attacks that you experience at home. There are many ways that you can adopt to mitigate these incidences.
Air purifier for dust and other allergens take the form of natural means and hygienic practices while at home. Let us explore some ten ways of improving indoor air quality.
1. Create Air flow
Commonly used household items can be possible sources of indoor air pollution. Worn out carpets that get damp are perfect habitats for biological pollutants.
Space heaters produce carbon dioxide which is a respiratory waste product and therefore not required to be in a greater percentage in the air that we breathe.
The recommended means of curbing these pollutants is to create a draft especially if you can’t afford new carpets. Do not turn on air conditioners as they add more pollutants in the house.
2. Limit Tobacco Usage
Tobacco smoke is the most toxic substance that is available in large quantities in many households. The smoke has a hazardous respiratory chemical called nicotine and tar.
Most smokers infect their families unaware or ignorantly. Smoking should take place in a designated open air area where the smoke won’t find its way into apartments where people live.
3. Install Potted Plants
It is the most preferred means of improving the indoor air quality. It is a good idea to go green. Biologically, leaves, stems, and roots of living plants take in pollutants such as ammonia fumes, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, and benzene.
These plants release oxygen in return, a friendly gas and number one component of human respiratory requirement. Below is a list of indoor plants that are recommended by NASA for enhancing their indoor air quality.
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- Spider plant (Chlorophytumcomosum)
- Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Scindapsusaures or Epipremnumaureum)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum )
- Chinese evergreen (Aglaonemamodestum)
- Bamboo palm or reed palm (Chamaedoreasefritzii)
- Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieriatrifasciata “Laurentii’)
- Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium, syn.Philodendroncordatum)
- Selloum Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn.Philodendronselloum)
- Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
- Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
- Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragans ‘Massangeana’)
- Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis Janet Craig’)
- Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckii’)
However, a potted plant is not a good air purifier for dust and must be used in association with other methods for a better result.
4. Ditch the Toxic Chemicals
Fumes and chemicals emitted from most of the home appliances are a major source of indoor air pollution. On the contrary, most air fresheners are the sources of pollutants that we have in our households. Just avoid such items whenever possible and go the natural way.
Other chemicals are present in the most cleaning agents that are used on a regular basis. Instead of using ammonia and bleach, look for milder cleaning substances. An example is a 50-50 vinegar-water solution for window cleaning. If you must use such items as paints, paint strippers, and adhesive removers then acquire them in small quantity.
5. Ventilation Improvements
Proper ventilation helps in evacuating most indoor air pollutants thereby lowering their concentration. Having a well-ventilated house will do you a great deal.
Ventilation is naturally enhanced through the vents that are built into the house so at all cost, ensure they are clean and free of debris so that air circulation into and out of the room remains balanced.
Additionally, remember to always open windows and doors, as well as turning on the attic fan if you can afford to enhance a better air circulation and improve the overall indoor air quality.
6. Artificial Air Cleaners
Many types of air cleaners are already in the market in various sizes and prices. The effectiveness of the cleaners is a subject of their ability to collect pollutants from the indoor air and the amount of air they can draw from the filters.
7. Humidity Control
High humidity forms a conducive environment for mold growth and molds, as we know is one of the most notorious agents of indoor air pollution. Apply the appropriate dehumidifier or any other cooling and heating system to maintain indoor moisture in the range of 30 to 50 percent.
8. Vacuum Regularly
Vacuum is the simplest way of controlling airborne particles. The process removes dust that descends on carpets, furniture or any other surface in the room. Many vacuum cleaners are already in the market for different models and prices. Choose the most efficient one that will do the job as it was designed to perform.
9. Test your home
Some houses built in the earlier days were constructed with materials such as asbestos, which is known to emit radon. This chemical is responsible for increasing the risk of lung cancer.
Contact the specialists in your region to conduct the test and advice you accordingly. When these tests are conducted, ensure you and all the members of your family are adequately informed of the basic safety procedures because the process may stir up some of these harmful chemicals and further cause respiratory conditions even as the specialists seek to eliminate these residues.
10. Remove Shoes When Entering the Home
Significant amounts of toxins get to the soles of shoes as we walk around. Animal dander, pollen, feces, and harmful chemicals are some of the pollutants that you can bring home with your shoes.
Remove them upon reaching home and wear the indoor-only shoes if possible. In order to achieve this, you could plan for regular cleaning [such as spring cleaning] where you would have the house thoroughly cleaned and all foreign substances caused by dirty shoes eliminated.
The above-listed methods are not the only means to enhance the indoor air quality in your home.
Clean indoor air has many proven health benefits. A research conducted by Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health in 51 U.S. cities showed an increase in life expectancy by five months per person as a result of cleaner air.
It is, therefore, your sole duty to follow the means at your disposal to keep the indoor air as fresh as possible for a healthier life.
Author Bio: Kevin Smith is a blog author and passionate manufacturing engineer. He shares blogs about D.I.Y tips, smart home appliances, stories of home-improvement and home-decor, and resources to help you explore an informed and compassionate relationship with home stuff.