10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

What is Indoor Air Quality?

You may be surprised at how many toxins there are in what appears to be a clean, healthy home. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that the air quality within homes or places of business can be more polluted than air outside. Carpets, fiberboard furnishings, formaldehyde-infused synthetic floor coverings, clogged furnace filters and many household cleaning products can pollute the air your family breathes on a daily basis, potentially leading to respiratory ailments such as asthma and COPD. It can also exacerbate allergic reactions and skin problems. Knowing ways to improve indoor air quality — like clean air filters, natural cleaning products and the addition of specific varieties of plants - can protect your family's health.

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How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Here are a few ways that you can improve the air quality in your home:

1. Change your air filters and whole house filters regularly

Regularly cleaning and replacing furnaces, air conditioners and other ventilation systems with well-fitting replacement air filters and whole house filters is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to maintain clean air throughout your home. Air filters cost only a few dollars to replace and can save you as much as 15% on electricity bills when replaced regularly.

man attaching an air duct into the ceiling

Air filters must be cleaned or replaced based on usage, rather than the generic claim stamped on the side of the filter. A furnace filter may claim to be a "30-day filter" but it may only last 15 days during heavy usage or in a home with significant amounts of dust, dander or other pollutants. Also, there are different efficiency level ratings for air filters. These MERV ratings range from 1 at the lowest level of filtration to 16 at the highest, with most home air filters falling between 6 and 13.

To learn more about how air filters can protect your family from indoor pollution, contact FilterBuy.com. FilterBuy.com manufactures only top-quality, after-market air filters and can help you choose the best product for your needs and budget.

2. Ventilate

Fresh air is an important component for healthy indoor air quality. Opening your doors and windows refreshes the stagnant air in your home with outside air. Even if it’s just for a five to ten minutes, fresh air is important.

3. Buy indoor plants to improve air quality

NASA researchers have discovered that there are many varieties of plants that reduce indoor pollution. Boston Ivy and spider plants are known for breathing in toxins such as carbon dioxide and releasing clean, breathable air into your home as well as adding beauty to your indoor space.

Along with those mentioned above, some of the best plants for improving air quality include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Boston fern
  • Palm trees
  • English ivy
  • Bamboo palm
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Weeping fig
  • Gerbera daisy
  • Dragon tree
  • Peace lily
a potted plant inside the house with a couch and pillows at the back

4. Don’t smoke in the house

Though it may go without saying, smoking in your home harms the air quality. Smoking is one of the most harmful pollutants to indoor air. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that can cause cancer, breathing problems and heart attacks. Secondhand smoke can be extremely harmful to children on top of causing overpowering odors throughout your home. If you or your guests need to smoke, take it outdoors.

5. Test and monitor radon levels

Radon is a colorless, odorless and radioactive gas. It comes from the naturally decaying uranium found in soil. Virtually any home can have a radon problem, which can have major implications; radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Testing for radon will help to ensure there are no harmful chemicals or gases in the air.

6. Keep your floors and furniture clean

Indoor air can carry many different allergens including dust mites and pet dander, which can live in floors, furniture, carpets and even bedding and sheets. Regularly washing sheets and vacuuming carpet and floors - even if they are hardwood - can help to rid the air of these allergens.

7. Use natural cleaning products

Many household cleaners are dangerous to respiratory and skin health. Ammonia, chlorine, aerosol sprays and other harsh cleaners can be absorbed into carpets, upholstery and drapes in your home. Even moth balls, once commonly used in closets, are classified as carcinogens. By switching to natural cleaning products, such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice, your home can be kept just as clean without the added dangers associated with harsh chemicals and toxins in the air you breathe.

8. Use ionic & HEPA purifiers

Featured in many electronics stores, ionic machines attract and hold pollutants. The metal plates must be cleaned regularly to remain effective and they can only clean a limited space. HEPA filters are finely woven filters that can capture particles as small as 0.3 micrometers, which makes them especially useful in hospitals. Unfortunately, the superior blocking ability of HEPA air filters can also slow air flow through a furnace and reduce its efficiency.

9. Control the humidity in your home

Humidity can spawn mold and mildew, which can trigger flare-ups in asthma and allergies. It's recommended to keep the humidity in your home in between 30% and 50% - anything below 30% is too dry and anything above 50% is too moist. Your location, especially if you live in a warmer or more tropical environment, can drastically affect the humidity in your home, so adjust appropriately. If you have a basement or areas in your home that are typically damp, these are great places to get started with humidity regulation.

happy family of a mother, father and a child enjoying the improved indoor air quality

10. Try out beeswax candles

Believe it or not, several types of candles contain chemicals that can negatively affect indoor air quality. When lit, they can spread these chemicals throughout your home. Beeswax candles, however, hardly emit any smoke when they are lit. This creates a better environment for those with asthma or respiratory problems. Beeswax also possesses air-purifying qualities. It emits ions that can draw particles like pollen and dust into the candle itself.

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