Poor air quality can be detrimental to your health, especially if it’s indoors. Factors such as pollution from the outside, inferior building materials, and emissions from heating appliances can be a cause of low air quality. Some of the health problems that you can develop are:
- Allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems
- Headaches and nausea
- Shortness of breath
- Sinus congestion, sneezing, and coughing
- Eye, skin, throat, and nose congestion
- Memory loss, dizziness, depression, and fatigue
What Defines Poor Indoor Quality
Due to larger amounts of outside pollution seeping into houses in large cities, indoor air pollution may be harsher there, but it also affects those who live in rural areas.
When we breathe in dust, filth, or pollutants from within a structure, it might cause health problems. Many factors, including inadequate ventilation, moisture, and chemicals in paints and cleaning agents, might contribute to it. It is often referred to as the unseen killer because it is made up of minute particles that are typically imperceptible to the eye or nose.
How To Test For The Air Quality In Your Home
Identifying poor air quality can be a bit tricky. Here are some steps you can take to identify and improve the air quality inside your home:
- Use An Indoor Air Quality Monitor: If you have severe allergies and asthma, installing an indoor air quality monitor is crucial. This is an electronic device that consistently tests and reports on air quality, giving you feedback on humidity, particulate matter, chemical pollutants, temperature, carbon monoxide, and even formaldehyde levels.
- Test For Molds In The Air: Molds are hazardous to your health and can even be fatal as they can cause respiratory diseases, memory loss, and depression, thus contributing to poor health. There are many types of mold present in the air, which makes testing essential for acute respiratory diseases.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Carbon monoxide has been known to be a silent killer. It’s odorless and colorless, which can be fatal. CO is a by-product of fuel combustion, gas dryers, gas furnaces, and other gas appliances. Hence, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm, since there’s a possibility of having CO contaminants floating in the air.
- Conduct A Radon Test: Radon, like CO, is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. It can enter your house through floors, foundations, walls, or pipelines. Exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are about 135,720 deaths in 2020 due to lung cancer. Hence, conducting a radon test is essential.
How To Improve The Quality Of Air Inside Your Home
According to a report, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors. Thus, the air quality inside your home is just as essential as its quality outdoors. Here are ways you can improve your air quality indoors:
- Change Your AC Filter: Air conditioners are marketed to filter pollutants and allergens. However, the air filter inside may be neglected, causing an accumulation of allergens and pollutants in your home. To keep your air conditioners continuously filtering contaminants, you must change the filter regularly.
Although you can seek professional help, you can also read up on how to install an air filter so you can do it in the comfort of your home. Other air filters also need changing, such vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, and kitchen vents.
- Don’t Forget About Other Air Filters: There are other factors at play in your home environment besides your AC filter that contribute to clean air. Be sure to check the filters in your other home appliances if you’re serious about enhancing the quality of the air in your residence. Periodically check and maintain your kitchen vents, laundry dryer, and vacuum cleaner. These typical home filters should be cleaned or changed every few months.
- Inspect Air Ducts: Air ducts distribute hot and cold air through your house. So, the chance of spreading pollutants from one room to another is there. Thus, air ducts need to be cleaned regularly to improve the quality of air, as pollutants like dust and molds can accumulate within the vents. Check out how you can contact expert professionals to clean air ducts and keep good quality air inside your home.
- Use A Cooking Vent: Indoor pollutants like CO from the kitchen stove can spread all over your house. Therefore, it’s best to use a cooking vent to filter carbon monoxide. It’s also recommended to keep your windows open while you’re cooking.
- Keep Your Rugs, Curtains, And Carpets Clean: Dust and allergens can also accumulate on your rugs, curtains, and carpets. It can be bothersome, especially if you have respiratory diseases like asthma, sinusitis, or dust allergies. Hence, these items should be regularly vacuumed and washed to keep dust away.
- Control Humidity: Humidity in your house can be a breeding ground for molds and mildew which, as mentioned, are detrimental to your health. Especially in the summertime, humidity can spike, causing an increase of mold in the air. Controlling humidity indoors is not as complicated as it sounds. There are many ways you can do this. For instance, you can use electronic dehumidifiers to maintain the proper humidity level indoors.
- Open The Windows: Although it may seem apparent, the simplest and least expensive approach to enhance the quality of the air in your house is to maintain your airflow fresh. Opening windows in the winter may seem counterproductive to trying to remain warm and save money on heating, but it’s important for letting oxygen in and toxins out as well as lowering the humidity that dust mites require to live. When using chemical-heavy cleaning or decorating solutions, take extra care to keep the space well-ventilated.
- Choose Used Over New Furniture: Despite being a luxury, your living room is being discreetly exposed to pollutants from that new sofa. Many textiles, glues, and paints emit gases known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. They generate particles that irritate and harm our lungs when they react with sunshine and airborne pollutants.
- Keep a Smoke-Free House: In order to protect non-smokers from the more than 7,000 chemicals included in second-hand smoke, smoking in enclosed public settings was declared banned in 2007. It is sense to designate your house as a smoke-free zone since toxic airborne tobacco particles can persist at dangerous levels for up to five hours. Keep in mind that whatever you burn for pleasure, including incense, candles, and other items, releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Candles release less fine particulate matter than incense, which does greater harm.
- Strike Out Air Fresheners: Air fresheners may be able to cover up unpleasant odors, but with each spray, a barrage of synthetic chemicals is released into your house. Choose items that are naturally scented or fragrance-free instead of the sickening smell of phony vanilla. Even better, use an organic room diffuser or an oil burner to go completely natural. By keeping a bowl of white vinegar in the kitchen overnight or microwaving lemon slices in water, you may quickly and cheaply eliminate cooking odors. Even better, you could create your own air freshener by combining baking soda, lemon juice, and hot water in an empty spray container.
- Buy Indoor Plants: Plants are nature’s air filters that can maintain the quality of your air. For example, Aloe Vera is recommended for areas that are prone to smog. Moreover, plants can add to the aesthetics of your home, and some are even low maintenance.
Benefits of Indoor Plants
Indoor plants may improve your health and well-being in addition to adding beauty to your home’s interior design. According to research, we spend more than 85% of our time inside. Adding houseplants to your home is a simple way to bring nature inside.
Improves Air Quality
Cleaning agents, paint, mold, and mildew are just a few of the items in our houses that contribute to air pollution, says Kathy Kennedy, a master gardener with whom Garvey works at Farm Chastain. Moreover, plants convert carbon dioxide into pure oxygen.
According to a recent study, taking care of indoor plants helped study participants feel less stressed both mentally and physically. Diastolic blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity were reduced by plant interaction. Participants said they felt more at ease working with plants than on a computer.
Boosts your general wellbeing.
According to a research, people who were exposed to indoor plants felt better about themselves than those who weren’t. However, we are aware that positive sentiments can also contribute to physical health improvement.
Also, studies have demonstrated that indoor plants can enhance concentration, lower depressive symptoms, and alleviate anxiety. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels can all be improved when your mind and body are at ease.
In conclusion, pollutants like carbon monoxide and mold can degrade not just the quality of the air indoors, but also of your life. Hence, it’s important to detect the quality of air, which can be done through many tests. After testing, you can choose to employ many methods to ensure continuous air quality, such as using dehumidifiers or cost-effective options like having plants indoors.