Does the air in your home smell or feel filthy? Are your respiratory problems getting worse because of decreased air quality at home? This guide will give you steps and tips for improving your home’s indoor air quality.
In the early months of the pandemic lockdowns, most of us had to spend more time indoors. This led to a lot of early spring cleaning, home renovations, and family bonding. People also got to sit back, relax, and enjoy life at a much slower pace.
However, as you sit in your home, you may notice that something in the air is different. If it seems fresher to you, that’s a good thing. If the indoor air quality in your home feels like it got reduced, then keep reading.
Keep the Windows Open
If you live in the suburbs or near a grove, it will do you well to keep the windows open during the day.
This can raise indoor air quality fast since your source of fresh air is right outside. Keeping your windows closed can lock in the bad air and keep new, fresh air out. If you don’t want insects and pests to enter the home, then install a screen on your windows or door.
With that said, turn off your HVAC system for a while. Let your house breathe in the most natural way possible. Opening your windows can also reduce your power or electricity bills.
In the US, 87% of homes use a form of HVAC. Air-conditioning accounted for 12% of total household energy costs at the national level five years ago. Today, as global warming continues, there’s likely a much higher percentage.
Clean Your HVAC Filters
Your air conditioning unit uses a filter to clean the air it releases. These filters collect and trap dust, mold, bacteria, and viruses. However, if a filter doesn’t get cleaned often, it can lose its efficacy.
Clean your air conditioner filters for your indoor unit every two weeks. If you live in a place where there is a lot of dust or pollutants in the air, clean the filters with more frequency. This is the price of using your air conditioner and ensuring you have clean air to breathe at home.
Replace Old HVAC Filters
Even if you clean your air conditioner filters often, they still need to get replaced. Filters for HVAC units have a lifespan, and they will fail once they reach their limits. Replace your air conditioner filters every 90 days or every 45 days if you have allergies.
If you are allergy-prone or live in an area with high levels of pollution, change filters sooner. If you don’t have time or the extra energy to change your AC filters, get an air conditioning service plan. This includes a filter change that can help improve your home’s indoor air quality.
Check Other Air Filters and Air Ducts
Don’t forget the other air filters that help your HVAC keep good air quality at home. Check the filters in your other household appliances, too.
This includes appliances like:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Clothes dryer
- Kitchen vents
Keep track of which filters you need to replace soon. Better yet, find a schedule of replacing the filters at the same frequency so you don’t have to do it often.
Also, don’t forget about the air ducts in your home.
Air ducts help distribute the hot and cold air throughout your home, so it’s more comfortable. For the maintenance of air ducts, you’d want to call in a professional. They have the right tools, skills, and knowledge of cleaning air ducts.
Clean Your Home Often
The key to having clean air at home is to keep your home clean. Whenever you clean your home, you purge the sources of pollutants as well as the collected dust. This is a necessity if you keep pets or live in a metropolitan area with high pollution levels.
For rug and carpet cleaning, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters collect and trap 99.9% of particles. Sweep your floors and dust the other surfaces in your home, too.
Cut Down on Indoor Pollutants and Avoid Bringing Pollutants Indoors
If you must go outside to shop for your groceries or to go to work, keep your shoes out of the home. Using your shoes for outdoor activities in the home can track dirt into the house. This can add to the air pollutants in your floor, carpets, and rugs.
If you can’t go barefoot inside your home, buy slippers to use indoors. If you have space near your front door, add a shoe closet or shoe rack. This will keep the dirt contained within that area only.
Don’t forget to wipe down or clean the area once every month to keep it clean and dust-free.
Another type of indoor pollutant comes from aerosols. Don’t buy products like hair sprays or aerosol cleaners. They’re bad for the environment and your indoor air quality.
If you need to cook with a gas oven, clean it up first. Using your gas oven without cleaning it can release old baked-on particles into the air once it heats up. This includes oil, dust, and old food residue.
If you have a range hood installed in your kitchen, turn it on whenever you use the stove or oven. This will suck out all the food and dust particles that get released when you’re cooking. An alternative is to use the back burners closes to the range vents if you don’t have a range hood.
Change to Clean Linens and Sheets
You don’t feel it, but you shed tiny dead skin cells every minute of the day. This means that everywhere you go and spend time in, you leave a bit of yourself behind. That includes your bed, linens, curtains, and rugs.
Dead skin is only one element that makes up house dust. Clothing fibers, bacteria, dust mites, and pollen also create dust. These are only some things that may be triggering your asthma or allergies.
Did you know that over 25 million Americans suffer from asthma? Asthma can be fatal, but only a small percentage of people get asthma attacks that can cause their deaths.
If you want to avoid the triggers for your asthma or allergies, you need to improve indoor air quality. Change your sheets and other bits of fabric in the house. When you wash used linens and fabrics, use washing temperatures of 130 F and up.
Change Some Old Habits or Form New Ones
Smoking and vaping indoors is a great way to lessen the air quality in your home. Also, it doesn’t only affect you but the people who live with you via second-hand smoking. This means your smoking or vaping habits affect the health of the kids and other adults around you.
The furniture, curtains, and other parts of the home also collect chemical residue from smoking tobacco or vaping. This is what experts refer to as third-hand smoking. Residents in the home can inhale these fumes, and babies may even crawl on or touch the affected furniture.
Earlier, we also mentioned how you need to make it a habit to change or clean air filters. With that said, try making it a habit to observe the air quality in your home. You can also get an air quality monitory to check for particulate or volatile compounds in the air.
Use Air Cleaner Systems in the House
Today, you can find air cleaners that collect and remove particles and pollutants. You can find a variety of tabletop models and whole-house systems. Depending on the type of air cleaner you buy, you’ll get different efficiency levels.
The efficiency of an air cleaner relies on its ability to pull and collect pollutants from the air. How much air it draws into its filter or cleaning element will also affect its effectiveness. If you’re sensitive to dust and pollutants, make sure you pick a larger and high-quality air cleaner.
Take Care of Indoor Plants
Last but not least is to install natural air filters in your home. All it takes are a few pots of indoor plants. Place the plants in areas close to the windows where they can get natural light.
If your home doesn’t let in sunlight much, then find indoor plant species that can thrive in low light. Some examples include the spider plant, devil’s ivy, and snake plant.
A great benefit to caring for plants is that it doesn’t need as much heavy work as cleaning filters. The work will be more frequent, like every three or two days of watering. Some indoor plants have specific needs, like filtered light or certain temperatures.
Get Better Indoor Air Quality
That ends our guide on the different steps you can take to improve the indoor air quality of your home.
We hope you learned something useful and informative from this guide. Now, you have a clearer understanding of the things that affect indoor air pollution and air quality.
Do you want to keep learning about the other ways air quality changes? Do you want to learn about how you can change your habits to live a healthier and improved lifestyle? Check out our other guides now for more informative content like this one.