You might not think about it much, but the air quality inside your home is just as important as the air you breathe outside. There are plenty of pollutants and allergens that have the potential trigger a wide variety of upper respiratory problems – often more than what you find outside your home. And if you don’t provide proper indoor air quality maintenance on a consistent basis, these issues could continue to flare up causing bigger problems. Below are some simple DIY things you can do – as well as some things to keep an eye out for – to breathe easy and keep your indoor air quality at its best.
KEEP BAD THINGS OUT
Improving indoor air quality has as much to do with keeping things out as it does with dealing with things inside. Here are a few ways to eliminate or reduce the sources of contaminants.
1. Keep it outside. A proper absorbent doormat allows anyone to entering the house to thoroughly wipe their feet and keeps them from tracking in a variety of dirt, pesticides and other pollutants. And once they’re in the house, have your guests and housemates remove their shoes.
2. Smoke-free home. Secondhand smoke (including smoke from cigarettes, pipes or cigars) contains pollutants and contaminants that can seriously compromise the health of anyone who inhales it. This is also true long after the tobacco product has been smoked, as those pollutants and contaminants can linger in the breathable space. If you have smokers in the home, or temporary visitors who smoke, ask them to do so outside.
3. Keep cleansers and fragrances natural. Most cleansers and fragrances have synthetic chemicals which can emit gasses that compromise indoor air quality. There are plenty of natural cleansers on the market, or even homeopathic remedies such as lemon slices to enhance a room’s aroma.
DEALING WITH THE BAD THINGS INSIDE
As you can see, there are simple things you can do to improve indoor air quality inside your home. Some are things that are designed to eliminate existing issues; others are designed to prevent problems from recurring.
1. Clean like you mean it. It may seem obvious, but if you’re genuinely concerned about indoor pollutants affecting you and your housemates, then a hearty cleaning is probably in order. But remember what we said about toxic cleansers. Read your cleanser labels carefully, and if you have floors to clean, mop with plain soapless water. On the other hand, if you have carpets to vacuum, use one with a HEPA filter. Pay extra attention to any area where a pet frequents.
2. Water remediation. If you’ve had to deal with damaged pipes or any kind of water leakage, it’s vital that you deal with the pending mold as soon as possible. Such mold is a breeding ground for dangerous and harmful bacteria.
3. Change air filters. Most modern household air systems have proper vents and ducts that rely on the latest filters to help keep indoor air quality at safe levels. But air filters need to be changed consistently. Keep your home stocked with proper fitting filters.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY PREVENTION
Here are some ongoing preventative measures you can take.
1. Ensure proper ventilation. Good ventilation increases clean outdoor air, filters to remove pollutants, and aids in reducing moisture build-up. In fact, it’s recommended that you maintain a humidity level between 30%-50%. A dehumidifier can help reduce moisture.
2. Add plant life. Indoor plants can eliminate a wide variety of toxins and act as natural air purifiers.
3. Be mindful of moments that affect air quality. Perhaps the simplest tip of all is to be vigilant about what goes on in your home that may adversely affect indoor air quality. Whether it’s running the dishwasher, cooking, or taking a shower or bath, make sure an exhaust fan is circulating air and toxic chemicals out of the house.