Have You Checked Your Indoor Air Quality Lately?

When you walk in your door (of your home or workplace), do you heave a sigh of relief because you have left pollution outdoors? You may be wrong.

The EPA says that people spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors but are exposed to as much as 2 to 5 times more pollution in that time, than when they are out of doors - breathing in motor exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, dust and other hazardous substances. In fact, there are a number of things that can – and probably are as you read – polluting the air in your home.

What Causes Impure Air In Your Home?

Indoor air quality is affected by a number of things. These can include fumes from gas fired devices and combustion appliances. Ovens, space heaters, stoves, ranges, fireplaces and furnaces as well as water heaters release particulate matter and gases into the air. In addition, there are allergens like dust mites, dander from house pets and mold that are present in much higher concentrations indoors than outdoors.

These allergens can be hazardous for people with heart diseases. They can lead to chronic coughs, sore throats, tightness in the chest, itchy or watery eyes, shortness of breath and even asthma attacks. Living long term in poor air can give you chronic asthma, bronchitis, perennial colds and chronic headaches.

How to Clean the Air in Your Home

The good news is, there are many affordable and surefire ways to purify indoor air. Keep away pollutants like cigarettes. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke. Also ensure proper ventilation, fix leaks in time to prevent excess moisture and use air purifying appliances that are easily available and highly effective.

1. Increase Ventilation

Always keep your home well ventilated. Run the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Ensure your stove and other appliance exhausts are effective. Keep your windows open from time to time for proper air circulation, but do so judiciously to keep out industrial pollution, gas emissions, mold and dirt.

A good solution for ventilation is to use a system of trickle ventilation. This is a screen that is 10 inches high with extra sets of filters. You can use these to fit to most windows. They will let in fresh air and let out indoor pollutants while keeping out additional pollutants.

2. Use Air Purifiers and HEPA Filters

You can buy affordable electronic air purifiers and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters to make your efforts towards clean air more effective. Electronic air cleaners may not be able to handle large particles, but they are very effective against the small to microscopic particles that pollute air quality.

Air conditioners in summer can also help remove water soluble particles and pollen when it removes moisture from your home. Installing a HEPA filter to your air conditioner will make it more effective in filtering indoor air. Clean the filters of your air conditioning at regular intervals.

3. Grow Air Purifying Plants

There are several house plants that help to purify air. These include the beautiful, slender spider plant, the Boston fern, the English Ivy, the Areca Palm, Goldon Pothos etc. Many of these plants are quite easy to grow indoors, and they keep air free of harmful gases like formaldehyde, benzene and xylene.

4. Use Low-VOC Paints and Cleaning Products

If you are painting your home, remember that fresh paint releases VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are harmful when inhaled in excess. These compounds are also present in some cleaning agents. Therefore, when purchasing paints and cleaning agents, check for low-VOC or no-VOC products that will keep your family safe. Always use exhaust fans to ventilate paint fumes when painting indoors.

5. Use Pollution Level Detectors

You can install a carbon monoxide detector indoors to make sure your fuel burning appliances are not silently creating this odorless gas and affecting your family. Carbon monoxide is one of the most noxious gases and records suggest it kills over 400 and makes thousands of other people ill each year. The gas is also emitted by motors and lawnmowers left running in the garage, so be sure to turn these off when not in use. Never burn a charcoal grill indoors. Always make sure your indoor heaters and gas stoves directly vent outdoors.

Following these simple suggestions can help you keep the air in your home clean always.

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