Our homes are places we want to make as comfortable as possible. We seal them off from the outside world, creating a controlled space with just the right temperature and humidity levels in the air. But what many of us don’t realize is that sealing off our houses from the fresh outside air can result in very poor air quality. Pollutants from all kinds of sources can build up, causing the air quality in many homes to be much worse than the outside air. This can become a serious health problem for a lot of people, so what can you do to improve the air in your home? Below are four steps you can take on your own to improve the quality of air in your home.
The less ventilation a home has, the more likely pollutants can build up over time. Unfortunately, most central heating and air conditioning units don’t bring fresh air inside, instead just re-using the same air time and time again. This lack of adequate air flow between the indoor and outside air is a major factor contributing to poor indoor air quality as pollutants have nowhere to go. An important way to improve your indoor air quality is to increase the amount of fresh outside air flowing inside.
An easy way to help alleviate this is to open a few windows or doors once in a while when the weather outside is nice. If you have any windows or attic fans, turning these on can do wonders to pull fresh air in from outside, and kitchen and bathroom vents can do the same. Although it’s a good idea to always practice these steps, it’s especially important to have as much ventilation as possible when you perform activities that can create dangerous pollutants, like painting or sanding.
Lately, potted plants have entered the discussion as an easy, often overlooked way to help clean the air in your home. The idea is that plants can counteract several harmful chemicals that are out-gassed by day-to-day activities, as well as helping balance humidity in homes. This along with the decorative value of house plants has made them very popular recently. But how influential can plants really be to indoor air quality?
Unfortunately, not enough research has been done to confirm whether or not houseplants have any real effect on the air quality of a room. On the contrary, overly-watered pots can become hotbeds for microbes that can cause all kinds of allergies. So if you do decide to bring some plants into your home, be sure to not water them any more than the recommended amount.
While plants may not be the air cleansing machines they’re often made out to be, there are devices you can purchase that are actually dedicated to this purpose. Air cleaners are machines designed to remove particles from the air, and there are all kinds of types and sizes available. Small table top cleaners can help control pollutant levels in a small room, while more expensive whole-house systems can improve the air quality of an entire home drastically.
But before you decide if the cost of one of these machines is worth it, keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that can determine how effective an air cleaner will actually be. Not all cleaners are very effective at circulating air or collecting particles, and air cleaners in general aren’t designed to remove gaseous pollutants. If you have a particularly problematic pollutant in your home then sometimes the best strategy is to go for the source.
In the end, source control is often the most effective and cost-efficient way to improve the quality of your indoor air. Some sources release pollutants constantly—building materials, some furniture items, and air fresheners can be unlikely sources of out-gassed chemicals. These might need to be removed if their pollutants become a health problem.
Other sources only release pollution when they’re used; gas stoves, cleaning products, furnaces, space heaters, and paint can all release potentially dangerous chemicals when used. Be sure to have as much ventilation as possible when using these products, and take them outside whenever possible.
If you need more information about indoor air pollutants or indoor air conditioning and heating options, contact AirOne in San Marcos, TX.