How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

 

indoor air quality control with pets

As we are spending more time indoors, the indoor air is often times more toxic than the outdoor air. Children, people with asthma, and the elderly might be more sensitive to indoor pollutants.

Indoor air pollutants can come from dust, pets, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from household products and building materials, cleaning products, cigarettes, dry-cleaned clothes, gas stoves, chimneys, and artificial air fresheners.

This is becoming a common issue especially when newer homes are now built more air tight. Here are some methods on how to improve indoor air quality.

Dust & Allergen Controlling

1. AC Filter

AC filters have to be changed out every so often to ensure that the filter is still functioning. The chart below shows how frequently different households should replace an AC filter.

When is the right time to replace an AC filter?

Typical suburban home with no pets

90 days

Add a dog/cat

60 days

Seldom used home

6-12 months

Multiple pets or have allergies

30-45 days

2. Shoes off
Shoes off indoor to control indoor air quality and dust
By keeping shoes, slippers, and socks near the door, you can stop the spreading of dust and dirt all over your house. So, to best protect your family, keep a door mat outside for people to clean their shoes and kindly ask people to remove their shoes when entering your home.

3. Don’t smoke in your home

Don't smoke in your home

Secondhand cigarette smoke can increase the risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, and cancer. Quit smoking or at least choose not to smoke indoors.

4. Use fragrance-free/naturally-scented laundry products and cleaners.
limit the use of fragrant cleaners
Synthetic fragrances emit dozens of chemicals into the air and some are regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. Most fragrances are made from petroleum products and have not been tested on potential adverse health effects. Some studies show that phthalates, a group of chemicals found in fragrances, disrupts hormones in animals. So, choose to use fragrance-free products instead.

5. Limit the use of aerosol spray
Spray can is bad for indoor air quality
Aerosol sprays, such as hairspray, air freshener, and spray paint can distribute unwanted chemicals in the air.

6. Cooking FumesCooking fumes is bad for indoor air. Use a hood.

Cooking fumes from gas burners were so bad that it exceeded outdoor air quality standards. So, use cooking hoods and air purification to help maintain indoor air quality when cooking.

Keep humidity at around 30% – 50%

1. Humidifier/dehumidifier

Maintaining a healthy humidity level will limit the growth of mold, impair the spread of germs, and prevent respiratory diseases or symptoms.

A whole house humidifier/dehumidifier is installed directly into your air-conditioning ductwork, introducing or eliminating humidity from your home. Whole house humidifier or dehumidifier’s level of humidity can be monitored and controlled along with your thermostat.

Removing chemicals and allergens from air

1. Air out

Open the windows for 5-10 minutes a day to let in fresh air and prevent toxic chemicals from building up in your home. If someone is engaging in an activity that will deteriorate the indoor air quality, windows should be opened as well.

2. Maintain a tidy home

Always keeping your home clean and dust-free will help significantly in improving air quality. Floors should be vacuumed or mopped at least once a week.

3. Houseplants

Indoor plants such as English Ivy and snake plant can filter out benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. Peace Lily and Florist’s chrysanthemum can filter out all of the chemicals above as well as ammonia.

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