The quality of the air we breathe matters.
Getting the fresh air from time to time is helpful. However, we spend more than 80% of our time indoors. Our lungs are thus intricately connected to the indoor air quality.
According to EPA’s study ‘Report to Congress on indoor air quality’,
“Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.“
For example, during 8 hours of sleep, you can breathe in more air pollutants than spending 2 full days outdoors.
If you’re not careful about maintaining high indoor air quality, you can be exposed to problems linked to poor indoor air quality that include (according to Wikipedia):
- Sick building syndrome.
- Reduced productivity.
- Impaired learning in school.
The reason why so many homeowners living in a poor indoor air quality environment are unaware of these dire consequences is simple.
“Most of the things that cause problems are odorless,” says Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard-Medical School, according to Harvard Health, “So, in many cases, there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.”
Luckily, there are ways you can improve your indoor air quality in your home immediately. What is more important, you can learn the everyday habits that maintain high indoor air quality. Here is how you do it:
How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home (5 Simple Tips)
Improving air quality is not rocket science. Pretty much everybody can increase the freshness of our indoor air and reduce the concentration of somewhat harmful indoor air pollutants.
It is important to understand that you can start with these habits if you have poor indoor air quality, standard indoor air quality, or even high indoor air quality.
They are designed to reduce the concentration of all indoor air pollutants.
Most of them, you already know. In fact, some people who read the 5 simple tips on how to improve indoor air quality think them nothing out of the extraordinary. They are not extraordinary at all; what matters is that we regularly upkeep them to increase and then maintain indoor air quality.
1. Remove Dust Regularly (Vacuuming, Change Bedding, Cleaning Drapes)
Keeping good house hygiene equates to keeping a house healthy. In no other way is this more apparent than in indoor air quality.
When cleaning a house, it makes sense to note the areas where air pollutants – such as dust, smoke, pollen, or mold, to name just a few pollutants – might accumulate.
Housekeeping actions that can increase the indoor quality the most target these air pollutant rich areas. Housekeeping tasks that, when performed regularly, have the biggest positive impact on indoor air quality are:
- Vacuuming. Vacuuming is nothing less than reducing the amount of potential air pollutants that accumulate over time. Vacuuming regularly often reduces the potential for all that dust to become airborne and decreases indoor air quality. Obviously, vacuuming propels dust in the air, getting rid of it, opening windows, and creating an airflow that will carry dust outdoors. Focus especially on vacuuming carpets and rugs (there the accumulation of air pollutants is the biggest).
- Bedding. Bedding represents a favorable platform for dust, smoke, pollen, and other allergens. The key problem is that we usually sleep on the bedding for 8 hours per day and directly contact these pollutants. Try changing bedding at least once a week to increase the bedroom air quality during your sleep.
- Drapes. Drapes are often overlooked. However, because they are placed near windows, they represent an obstacle for an indoor-outdoor, and vice versa, airflow. In such a way, they can accumulate a significant amount of air pollutants that are later released into indoor air. To decrease this deposit of airborne pollutants, wash and change drapes at least once a month.
2. Open Windows (Fresh Air Improves Indoor Air Quality)
As you might recall, outdoor air can be 2 to 5 times cleaner than indoor air. That’s only reasonable; outdoor air moves around and is mixed all the time. On the other hand, indoor air is stale and readily accumulate air pollutants.
Opening windows more often seems like simple advice. Nonetheless, despite being so simple, most homeowners don’t follow it as strictly as it would be advisable.
The act of opening a window is simple. However, the process of air exchange between indoor and outdoor is not to be underestimated. By creating an influx of outdoor air of 2-5 higher air quality, the indoor air of much lower air quality is replaced by being expelled out of the window.
Obviously, if you open more than one window, you can create an outdoor-indoor-outdoor airflow. Not only will it quicken the air exchange, but the airflow will also be strong enough to pick up heavier particles (mold spores, dust) and lift them out of your home.
3. Improve Overall Ventilation By Regularly Cleaning/Changing Filters
Most homes already have heating and cooling systems that continuously capture airborne air pollutants. Over them, these filters increase indoor air quality. However, when filters reach their capacity, they can’t help you improve indoor air quality anymore.
What is more, the gathered air pollutants on the top of these filters might re-ented the indoor air circulation. That turns these filters from air cleaners to air polluters.
Therefore it is vital – and very simple – to regularly clean filters. It doesn’t matter if they are air conditioners or heating filters. Having them cleaned on time will ensure they will continue to improve indoor air quality and not actively spew air pollutants into the indoor air.
4. Move The Green Plants Outside (If You’re Getting Allergic Reactions)
Having plants indoor might be indirectly connected with allergic reactions. Green plants create localized areas that are favorable for mold growth.
It only makes sense to remove the thing that may spur mold growth. Obviously, if you don’t feel like mold might be a problem, you don’t need to move the greens outdoors.
Let’s clear another thing up: The common concept about indoor plants is that they create oxygen and are good for indoor air quality. While creating oxygen is good, the presence of increased mold concentrations might be worse.
In most cases, the lack of oxygen in indoor air is not a problem. The problem is mold growth and mold spores. Both of these can be effectively dealt with using UV air purifiers for mold.
5. For Significant Indoor Air Quality Improvement Look Into High CADR Air Purifier
If simple tricks don’t increase the indoor air quality enough, you can always use an air purifier. Air purifiers – devices that filter out all kinds of air pollutants – can significantly increase the indoor air quality.
They can be used for a specific purpose – such as getting rid of mold or allergies. They can also be used to lift the indoor air quality generally.
If you decide to buy one, look for the ones with a high CADR rating. CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate; it is a key metric that tells us how fast an air purifier can increase the indoor air quality. You can check the list of the best air purifiers with high CADR ratings here.
Summary: Invite Fresh Air In And Keep It Fresh
To keep at bay all kinds of problems related to poor indoor air quality, you have to be mindful of regularly creating conditions for high indoor air quality.
This can be something as simple as opening a window. Nonetheless, overall they can work very well to create an environment with highly reduced concentrations of air pollutants.