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Given the amount of time we spend in our homes, considering the quality of indoor air may be an important factor in maintaining personal health.
Indoor air pollution can be considerably higher than toxin levels found in outside air. This imbalance is due to chemicals released into the air by many of the materials we use on a daily basis. Certain types of paint, household cleaners, detergents, carpets, crafting and art materials, beauty products, wood stoves, and gas ranges.
All these items have the potential of emitting allergens and toxins that may harm your health.
Whether you’ve tested your air quality and been surprised by the results, or you just want to take preventative steps to clean and maintain your indoor air quality, these five suggestions will send you well on your way to breathing easier knowing your indoor air is clean.
1. Filters and Purifiers
Invest in a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter in your central air system or portable HEPA filters throughout your house.
These filters will remove any particulates in the indoor air that are 0.3 microns or larger, such as bacteria, mold, and dust. They will not remove gases or small particulates.
Investing in an air purifier with a HEPA filter and a charcoal/carbon collection system will not only collect allergens, it will also collect gases, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), fumes, smoke, and odors. Make sure you clean or replace your purifiers and filters regularly to maintain maximum effectiveness.
2. Low VOC Products
Use products in the home that are low in VOCs. Some hair and nail products, art products such as glue and certain paints, household cleaners, and synthetic materials such as carpet all can emit VOCs which can be harmful to your health.
Look for products that are low in VOC, or use natural cleaning products such as vinegar or baking soda solutions. Avoid installing carpet, and consider replacing existing carpet with wood flooring.
Vacuuming can also kick up allergens and VOCs trapped in carpet. Using a shark vacuum with a HEPA filter can mitigate much of this.
3. Natural Absorption Products
Invest in houseplants and beeswax candles throughout your home. These natural products are a great help in cleaning the air. As opposed to traditional paraffin wax candles, beeswax candles neutralize the air of toxins and they last much longer.
House plants such as English Ivy, Spider plants, Boston ferns, and palms absorb harmful toxins in the air as well. Plan on placing at least one plant in each average size room, or for every 100 square feet.
Ventilate key areas of your home such as bathrooms and kitchens. Use vents in your bathroom to dry out air humid from shower use.
This will cut down on the potential for mold growth and subsequent airborne mold spores. If you have a gas range in the kitchen and wood stove or fireplace in the home, make sure they are sufficiently vented to transport dangerous fumes and bi-products outside of the home.
5. Check for Harmful Materials and Leak
Check for harmful materials and leaks in the structure of your home. If your home was built before 1978, it may contain lead paint. Check for disturbances in the paint, and rectify those issues using proper safety equipment or hiring a professional.
If you have a home or structure with asbestos, regularly inspect what you can to make sure no disturbances to the material exist. If you do detect disturbances, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Asbestos is highly toxic, so calling a professional in is best.
Something you can do yourself easily is checking for leaks in the roof, basement, and foundation. Fixing leaks will ensure that water damage and subsequent mold infestation does not occur.