Are you worried about the indoor air quality in your home? Indoor air quality can indeed be as bad or even worse than the pollution outside. And with the average American spending 87% of their entire life inside, this is a huge issue. But what can you do to improve indoor air quality and reduce air pollution in your home? It’s not like you can see it. That’s where we come in! Keep reading for our guide on improving indoor air quality to clean up your home.
Table of Contents
Common Air Pollutants
Air pollutants can come into your home on your pets or your clothes. It can also come in the form of a dangerous gas leak and other harmful substances. Carbon monoxide is a common pollutant. It comes from natural gas escaping into the air without getting burned off. In older homes, you might find asbestos and particles of lead. When released into the air, they can cause huge, permanent damage to your lungs. In kitchens, bathrooms, and other moist areas, mold and mildew can be common issues. If it gets to a high level, the spores in the air can get into your lungs and body, making you unwell.
How You Can Improve Home Air Quality
With this in mind, you might be looking around your home for these new, hidden dangers. So, what can you do to reduce the risks and improve air quality indoors? It’s your home, your sanctuary and you deserve to be breathing clean air, so check out these tips.
Change Your HVAC Filter
Your heating and cooling system works to keep your home at the perfect temperature. Chances are, it’s always running year-round. But while they cycle through the air, their filters take out many common pollutants. If you don’t change those filters though, at some point they won’t be able to do their job right. Not only does this bring the quality of your indoor air down, but it could cause wear and tear on your HVAC unit. If that remains ignored, you’re looking at costly repairs. Make sure you’re changing your AC filters on a regular schedule as per the manual. It’s also worth signing up for an HVAC service plan with a reputable HVAC technician. This usually includes filter changes too if you’re uncertain of how to do it.
Check & Clean Air Ducts
Air ducts take hot and cold air and distribute it through your home. It’s what helps keep each room at a stable, comfortable temperature. But ducts that you don’t maintain well can distribute contaminants from room to room. This issue is even worse when you pair it with dirty filters that aren’t removing the pollutants. Over time, the dander, dust, and even mold can build up in the ducts. As this mixes with circulating air, it will bring down the quality of your air. Cleaning out your ducts is also a task that is usually included in HVAC maintenance plans. So if you sign up for one, a professional will sort them out, making sure you’re only breathing in clean air.
Use a Cooking Vent
Many indoor pollutants come from the kitchen. Gas stoves are notorious for harmful pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. Even electric burners give off those pollutants, only in lower amounts. The particles both cookers give off are easy for your bloodstream to absorb. But you can combat this by using your kitchen vent, or opening the window if you don’t have one. This will help cycle some of those pollutants out and make them less concentrated.
Keep Carpets & Rugs Clean
Carpets and rugs increase how comfortable your home looks and feels. But they also act as a filter in a sense as dust and other particles get trapped in their fibers. Clean your rugs and carpets each week and you can use this to your advantage. They’ll improve the quality of your indoor air by existing but you have to take care of them.
Humidity and moisture are the fuel for mildew and mold. If left unchecked they can trigger and irritate conditions like asthma and allergies. Depending on where you live, you might experience extreme humidity in the summer. Use a few dehumidifiers that will lower those moisture levels in the air. This will also help stop the growth of mold. This will also help keep humidity levels constant. Your home will be more comfortable to live in.
Use Indoor Plants to Filter the Air
Plants are the air filters of nature, and they’re a solid strategy for how to get clean air. Getting a few indoor plants will do wonders for boosting indoor air quality. They’ll also boost your home’s decor style. Choose small plants like lilies and ferms (which will bloom and thrive indoors). Large palm trees are also a great option if you have the space for larger pots. But if you have pets, make sure you choose options that aren’t toxic to your furry friends, as a lot of plants can be.
Open Your Windows
This one might seem obvious but it’s easy too, open your windows to let fresh air circulate into your home. It might sound counter-productive to open them in winter. Especially when you want to be warm and not spend too much on heating. But it’s important to let oxygen get into your home and let all those nasty pollutants out. It also helps to reduce humidity levels which pests like dust mites thrive on. When decorating or cleaning with chemicals, it’s even more important to keep them open.
Choose Second-Hand Furniture Not New
That new sofa may look luxurious but it could be letting chemicals into your indoor air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases that come from a lot of paints, glues, and fabrics. They have a reaction to sunlight and other chemicals in the atmosphere. This reaction forms particles that get into the lungs, causing irritation and damage. But you can combat this by searching for second-hand furniture instead. After a few years, affected furniture will stop giving off VOCs. The same applies to flooring too. It might be worth swapping the carpet out for a hardwood floor or concrete. Both are easy to clean and won’t trap dander, dust, and dirt. If you’ve moved into a new build, there are things you can do to absorb some of those VOCs. Ikea, for example, has air-purifying curtains. They have a mineral coating that reacts with sunlight which breaks down pollutants.
Dust, Dust, Dust!
- Pet hair
These are all pollutants that can build up fast, soon irritating your lungs and nose. When you’re vacuuming, don’t only focus on carpets and rugs. Get your hardwood and tile flooring too, and get under the sofa and bed too. Take cushions, throws, and rugs outside and beat them to get even more dust out of them. You should change your bedding each week and wash it at 60 degrees. This will kill off any germs they hold as well as any dust mites and their eggs. If dust is a persistent problem, try to reduce the clutter on your surfaces. And use a damp cloth, not a dry one to trap the particles, making it easier to remove them.
Choose Non-Toxic Paints
If you’re redecorating, look for paints that have low levels of VOCs and don’t have the new paint smell. Paint brands stating they’re non-toxic should show the ingredient on the tin, or you can ask them. You want to avoid paints with plastic in them as it forms a barrier on the wall. This will trap air, and it could cause mold to set in, growing beneath this layer and you might not see it right away. Also try to avoid petrochemicals that come from acrylics, ammonia, oil, and formaldehyde. You want to avoid synthetic dyes too. Choose water-based paints instead of oil-based.
Stop Using Air Freshener
Air fresheners are there to cover up bad smells, but they’re still synthetic chemicals. Swap that fake vanilla smell for a natural product instead. If you do want to scent your home, an organic room diffuser is a good alternative. Or you could use an essential oil burner, but be careful with pets as this can cause harm to them. For strong cooking smells, leave out a bowl of white vinegar in your kitchen overnight. Or you can microwave lemon slices soaking in water. You can even make an air freshener yourself with baking soda, hot water, and lemon juice. Pour that mixture into a spray bottle and you’re good to go.
Consider an iWave Air Purifier
We are continuously surrounded and affected by both pollen and mold, whether from trees, grasses, and weeds, or damp basements, bathrooms, and window sills. No matter how clean your home is, if you use a microscope, you may find those little nasty dust mites hiding in your carpet, bedding, and even furniture. Even though an air conditioner that’s been finely tuned will help, the most effective way for you to have the best indoor air quality is to install a whole-home air purifier. With an iWave Air Purifier, a patented process called needle-pint bipolar ionization creates equal amounts of positive and negative ions. As a result, these ions break down the pollutants in your home’s airstream into harmless compounds such as oxygen, nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide. One of the primary differences between the iWave air purifier system and nature is that the iWave air purifier does it without creating harmful ozone! That is excellent news if you live near St. Louis.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality Made Easy
So, there you have it! Now you know these tips for how to improve indoor air quality you can get started right away. You deserve to be safe and healthy in your own home, and the issue is the air isn’t something you can see. But if you keep a clean house, keep up with maintenance, use natural products and materials, you’ll be able to improve the air quality. An HVAC maintenance service is vital, and if you want to book one schedule a service today. At Crystal Heating and Cooling, we’ve got the skills and knowledge to help with all your HVAC needs.
Looking for HVAC coupons to save on your next A/C unit or even furnace?
HVAC Maintenance Plan
Want two preventative maintenance visits per year AND VIP treatment on any repair service?