10 Steps to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home
The quality of the air in your home is one of the most important aspects related to your quality of life. The air you and your family breathe for most of your time can be two to five times worse than outdoor air. It doesn't have to be this way, so here are 10 easy steps to improve the air quality at home:
1. Keep Your Rooms Well Ventilated
If possible, open your windows for 5-10 minutes several times a day, especially when cooking, as well as after a bath. Maintaining good room ventilation is especially important and also reduces the risks of viruses. If you live in a heavily polluted area, check the air pollution levels before opening your windows.
2. Change or Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter
Changing and cleaning your air conditioner's filter is an obvious first step to improving indoor air quality. It's often the primary device in your home for filtering the air. However, many people forget about it or don't clean it regularly. Depending on your specific type of air filter, it's recommended to change or clean the air conditioner filter at least twice a year or even more frequently. If you live in a place with poor air quality, such as in a large city with polluted air or near a busy road, you might need to change or clean the filter even more frequently.
3. Don't Forget About Other Air Filters
Your air conditioner might not be the only device in your home with an air filter. If somewhere in the house you have a dirty or worn-out filter (like a kitchen hood), it will surely spread pollutants everywhere when used. These pollutants include dust mites, smoke particles, dust, and grime. Ash from the fireplace and even airborne grease particles from the kitchen also worsen the air quality in rooms. Anything emitted from a dirty filter or bathroom ventilation duct, for example, forces the main air filter in your home – the one on the air conditioner – to work harder and wear out faster.
4. Use Ventilation Hoods When Cooking
The kitchen is a huge source of indoor air quality issues. Cooking stoves are particularly prone to spreading small grease and food particles in the air. Hoods have a fan that sucks out the dirty air and smoke from the cooking surface into a duct that leads it outside. Use this feature every time you cook on the stove, and don't let the air quality in the kitchen affect the rest of your home.
5. Keep Your Carpets and Floors Clean
Carpets and floor coverings are often overlooked as a source of indoor air quality problems. Dust, shed skin, and even more unpleasant pollutants like spider eggs and dried pieces of flies end up in the carpet and stay there. Clean these residues with a vacuum cleaner regularly or take portable carpets outside every week to shake them out well. Don't forget that the vacuum cleaner probably also has an air filter, so keep it clean too.
6. Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Agents
Dust and cooking grease aren't the only things negatively affecting indoor air quality. In some homes, the chemicals used for cleaning can significantly lower air quality. Cleaning agents, degreasers, duct cleaners, and others can emit toxic chemicals into the air, causing allergies. Try to use milder and harmless agents and always make sure the rooms are well ventilated. This is especially important for rooms where you have used volatile chemicals, such as a drain cleaner or bleach.
7. Keep Your Pets Well-Groomed
Pet dander is usually not life-threatening, but it can seem so if you are a person with allergies or serious asthma. Even a small pet can shed enough allergenic dander every day to irritate the eyes of even an allergy-resistant pet owner. Regular grooming of pets with frequent bathing and brushing significantly reduces the amount of pet hair and skin that can cause itching, teary eyes, and overall lower the air quality in your home.
8. Control the Humidity in Your Home
Most people don't think of moisture as a source of bad air, but it easily becomes one of the leading causes of poor indoor air quality. Excess moisture feeds the growth of molds, which at best are a source of spores and other allergens. Some mold varieties are more than an aesthetic problem, as some types of colonies emit highly toxic fumes into the enclosed spaces of bathrooms and kitchens. If you still don't have a dehumidifier, consider such an investment and never leave a moist room for a long time without ventilation, especially important is ventilation after a bath.
9. Do Not Smoke Indoors
Smoking and passive smoking are dangerous to health. Cigarettes and smoke are full of harmful chemicals that can make a person sick. Children and adults exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to get heart disease. Children are also more likely to get ear infections, lung infections, and worsening asthma or allergies, especially if they live in a closed space where smoking occurs.