Our health and quality of life largely depend on our surroundings. Something that’s all around yet completely invisible could have the biggest impact. That’s right – the air you breathe day in and day out can have a lasting affect.
If you or a loved one has ever suffered from allergies or asthma, then you know firsthand how import air quality is at home. Unfortunately, the air inside the average home is up to 100 times more polluted than the outdoor air.
Why is the air inside so toxic? What can you do about it? Those are just a few of the questions we’re answering.
The Indoors Epidemic
Most people spend about 90% of their day indoors at work and at home. During the winter we hole up in our homes to escape the cold, but the entire time the heater is pumping pollutants into the air. Even in the summer time, when we need the air conditioner to keep from melting we spend a lot of time inside as well.
Being inside almost the entire day compounds air quality issues. We are continually breathing in air that’s full of chemicals, dust, dander, fragrances and even formaldehyde. What’s worse is it’s stale air because most structures have poor ventilation.
Poor air quality can have short-term and long-term health effects on your lungs, eyes, sinuses, nervous system and brain. It’s so impactful the recent increase in childhood allergies and asthma is being attributed to poor indoor air quality.
Make it a goal to get outside more. You’ll be able to breathe a little easier, and spending time outdoors is a proven way to reduce your stress levels.
Help Improve Air Quality Overall With a Green Electricity Plan
First things first – if the air quality outside isn’t good it’s going to be near impossible to improve it indoors. That’s why we all should be invested in reducing pollution and carbon emissions. One way you can support cleaner air quality all around is by choosing a green energy plan.
Local electricity companies are now offering these plans for customers that want to get their power from clean, renewable resources. Green electric plans are either partially or fully powered by wind and solar energy.
Add Houseplants Around Your Home
When NASA began playing with the idea of keeping people in outer space for extended periods, air quality was one of their top concerns. It launched a huge research study that concluded a number of houseplants are highly effective at cleaning up the air indoors.
Some of the plants that were found to have the best air cleaning capabilities include:
· Peace Lily
· English Ivy
· Spider Plants
· Bamboo Palm
· Weeping Fig
· Varigated Snake Plant
· Boston Fern
· Flamingo Lily
· Red-Edged Dracaena
Another benefit of indoor plants is they can replace chemical-based fragrances. Herbs such as lavender and lemon balm put off a beautiful aroma without adding pollutants to the air.
Increase Air Circulation
Part of the reason air inside of homes is more polluted is because it’s stale. Air circulation that lets the air inside out and brings fresh air in is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the quality. Plus, you don’t even have to open the doors and windows to get air moving.
Proper ventilation can help circulate the air so it stays cleaner. You can adjust the ventilation by:
· Turning the attic fans on.
· Using window fans.
· Opening the vent control on winder AC units.
· Running exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen.
· Using energy efficient air-to-air heat exchangers.
Anytime you are doing work around the house that involves painting, cleaning, chemicals, etc. the best option is to open the windows and doors to push the contaminated air outside.
Forgo Products With High VOC Levels
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a byproduct of many products that are used around the home. Paints, finishes, stains and cleaning products are common culprits that increase VOC levels in the air of a home by off-gassing. Many products, like paints and stains, will list the VOC count on their container. Some products will also use the designation “low VOC” or “no-VOC” to indicate they have low levels of volatile organic compounds.
Whenever possible it’s always healthiest to go with an all-natural product rather than one that’s chemical-based.
Use HEPA Filters
Regularly vacuuming your home can help suck up the nasty chemicals and pollutants, but if you’re not careful it could just stir things up. High efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters are designed to keep dust and dirt from blowing back out of a vacuum. Air purifiers with HEPA filters can also help to clean up the air in between cleanings.
Use Floor Mats
A very simple solution for keeping dirt and allergens out of the air is to put floor mats in front of every door. Quality doormats with a textured surface significantly reduce the amount of stuff that comes in on shoes.