Indoor Air Quality- Easy Ways To Improve It
Indoor air pollution is harsher in major cities because of higher amounts of outside pollution flowing into houses. However, it also affects those who live in rural areas.
Indoor air pollution is defined as “dust, filth, or gases in the air within a structure that hurt us if we breathe it in,” according to the British Lung Foundation. Poor ventilation and moisture, as well as chemicals in cleaning products and paints, can all contribute to it. It is made up of microscopic particles that are seldom seen or smelled, earning it the moniker “invisible killer.”
The average person spends 90% of their time indoors, breathing dirty indoor air. Furthermore, our houses are more insulated and less ventilated than ever before. A poor HVAC system lowers our energy bills but lowers our air quality as well since dry, stale air lingers around for longer.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF INSIDE AIR POLLUTION?
The thought of air pollution in our homes is frightening, yet much of it is natural and inevitable. It only becomes a problem when it is not treated seriously and allowed to build up.
Some people may not have any symptoms, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all examine our behaviors at home, particularly when it comes to cleaning, ventilation, air conditioning, and the use of aerosols.
Indoor air pollution is dangerous to everyone, but it is especially dangerous to children and those who have lung disease. You could feel a dry throat or a cough if you’ve been breathing filthy air for days or weeks at a time. You may also have shortness of breath, wheezing, or a runny or itchy nose.
It is critical that we adopt a more cautious approach to chemicals in our homes, that goods are labeled similarly to foods so that individuals can make informed decisions, and that attention is devoted to assessing indoor air pollution and providing proper ventilation.
EASY WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME’S AIR QUALITY
1. OPEN THE DOORS AND THE WINDOWS
Keeping your airflow clean may seem self-evident, but it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve the air quality in your home.
When you’re trying to remain warm and save money on central heating, opening the windows may seem counterintuitive, but it’s essential for letting oxygen in and toxins out, as well as lowering the humidity that dust mites require air quality monitoring to live.
When utilizing chemical-based cleaning or decorating products, make sure the area is well ventilated.
2. CHOOSE SECOND-HAND FURNITURE OVER NEW FURNITURE.
Although your new sofa may appear to be a luxury, it is covertly leaking toxins into your living room. Many fabrics, glues, and paints produce gases called volatile organic compounds.
When they react with sunlight or chemicals in the air, they produce particles that irritate and damage our lungs. The flooring may be approached in the same way. Floors or concrete, which are both easier to clean and do not collect dust and dander, should ideally replace the carpet.
3. INVEST IN AN AIR PURIFIER
Pollen and dust particles can be quite small. It’s virtually hard to clean something you can’t see. As a result, air quality monitoring and purification equipment are essential. By taking in unclean air, filtering it, and releasing it back into the room, much cleaner and fresher, the greatest air purifying devices capture and eliminate almost 100% of contaminants.
Air purifiers are especially useful during the peak of hay fever season, i.e., from May to July. These devices mostly come with LED displays that show light green when the air is pure. Some emit negative ions into the atmosphere to aid in the neutralization of airborne viruses and bacteria.
If your budget permits invest in an HVAC system or even an air purifier that includes a fan to circulate the freshly cleansed air throughout the whole area. Smaller and less expensive air purifiers can still be helpful, but you’ll have to move them around if you use them in bigger spaces.
While controlling the external environment is challenging, reducing your exposure to allergens indoors is an effective strategy to help decrease asthma attacks and allergy symptoms. An air purifier can help lower the chance of an asthma attack or an allergy flare-up. It removes airborne particles like pet dander and pollen, so it’s a good addition to your allergy-control arsenal.
4. DUSTING IS ESSENTIAL.
Vacuum cleaners of good quality are pricey. But, they’re a strong weapon against dust, pollen, and pet hair as well. This in turn may quickly accumulate and aggravate your respiratory system. Vacuum as much as you can, especially beneath sofas and beds.
Smack cushions, rugs, and blankets against the outside walls to reduce the amount of dust they hold. Change your bedding once a week and wash it at 60 degrees to keep dust mites and germs at bay. Dust often by keeping surfaces free of clutter and wiping away those pesky particles with a damp cloth.
5. A GREEN MAKEOVER FOR YOUR CLEANING CUPBOARD
In general, it is a good idea to clean your house. Or it would be if the bleach and other cleaning chemicals you keep in your cupboard weren’t so dangerous to inhale. Additionally, flushing them down the drain pollutes waterways and causes animal damage.
To cut through oil and dirt, you don’t need to use harmful substances. This is because there are lots of eco-friendly cleaning solutions that perform just as well and smell a lot nicer.
Castile soap, which is derived from vegetable oils and is excellent at eliminating grease, vinegar for cleaning glass, olive oil for polishing stainless steel, and diluted lemon juice for removing stubborn stains from chopping boards are all-natural options to consider.
Choose reusable microfiber towels that capture small dirt particles when wet for efficient cleaning with only tap water. They also don’t hold bacteria, which means they won’t cross-contaminate bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
6. WAVE YOUR WOOD-BURNING STOVE GOODBYE.
Over a million of us use wood-burning stoves. But, research suggests that using it indoors exposes a family to more contaminants than standing at a congested roundabout during rush hour.
Smoke from wood-burners, especially older ones, can damage lung tissue and cause long-term breathing difficulties. Electric fires or period-style radiators can provide ambiance without the carcinogens. However, if you can’t bear giving up your wood-burning stove, open the windows as often as possible to freshen the air.
Lydia Colman is an Air Quality Field Technician who has spent a significant amount of time in the field conducting tests and collecting data on air quality. Her goal is to ensure that the air we breathe is safe to breathe.