14 Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home
Modern non-agrarian humans spend most of their time indoors. But unlike mushrooms, which also thrive in the dark, they need clean, fresh air to be at their best.
According to the EPA, “indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels.”
Yikes! It’s enough to make you stop breathing altogether and turn into a mushroom. Indoor pollutants are especially harmful to allergy sufferers, people with respiratory problems, senior citizens, and children who spend significant time in school.
So, what can you do about it? Probably more than you realize. Here are some easy ways to improve indoor air quality in your home — starting today.
1. Pick the right house plants
Plants are like little green air purifiers. Certain species are particularly good at removing nasty toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichlorethylene from the air. Spider plants, bamboo palms, and peace lilies are among these awesome toxin-zappers.
Caring for them is a piece of cake — give them light, water, and occasional plant food, and they’ll do their darndest to keep your air fresh.
2. Keep your floors clean
Floors are magnets for dust, allergens, and pollutants. Regular vacuuming, mopping, and carpet cleaning can make a world of difference in your home’s indoor air quality. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap all those tricky little particles.
Remember doormats! They’re like bouncers blocking nasty outdoor pollutants from entry to the club.
3. Dust regularly
Frequent dusting is a solid strategy to boost indoor air quality. As dust collects, it becomes a playground for allergens and bacteria that can wreak havoc on your respiratory system.
And it’s not just about the visible surfaces; dust loves to hide in remote corners, on bookshelves, and under furniture. So, get a good electrostatic or microfiber duster and go on a dust-busting spree. Just be gentle — you don’t want to create a dust storm!
4. Embrace the power of air purifiers
Air purifiers can be game-changers for indoor air quality. Even the most economical models can make a noticeable difference by filtering out dust, smoke, and other pollutants. They deliver a one-two punch, cleaning your air while giving allergens and bacteria the old heave-ho.
If you’re willing to pay more, consider an electrostatic air purifier that attaches to your HVAC system and uses an electric field to trap particles.
It might be pricier, but the return on investment is impressive. Cleaner, fresher air throughout your entire home! Plus, HVAC-attached models reduce the need for portable purifiers in every room, saving you time, maintenance efforts, and electricity.
5. Replace air filters
Air filters clog with dust and pollutants as you run your furnace and AC, reducing efficiency and air quality. They no longer filter but can become a source of pollution themselves.
Replace your filters regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer. As a rule, standard fiberglass filters should be changed every 30 days, while pleated filters can last up to 90 days. If your house is a pet palace or you have allergy sufferers among the residents, you might need to switch them out more often.
Fiberglass filters are the most common and affordable but don’t capture the tiniest particles. Pleated filters offer a step up in quality, trapping more and smaller particles, but require more frequent replacement.
Electrostatic filters use an electric charge to attract and capture dust and pollutants. They’re ideal for households with smokers or pets and can be a wise investment for anyone serious about maintaining good indoor air quality.
6. Clean your air ducts
Cleaning your air ducts isn’t on your regular chore list, but it’s worth doing every few years. It’s particularly valuable if you’ve noticed heavy dust accumulating in your home despite regular wipe-downs.
Air duct cleaning can significantly reduce dust distributed throughout your home. You can vacuum around the air vents DIY, but thorough duct cleaning is a job for professionals who use high-powered vacuums, extensions, and other specialized equipment.
7. Avoid synthetic fragrances
That lovely lavender scent wafting from your candles and air fresheners might be a disservice to indoor air quality.
Many scented products, particularly those that are synthetically fragranced, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can take a toll on your air quality. They’re diabolically sneaky, releasing VOCs into your air without any visible sign.
So, as much as it might pain the candle-lovers among us, it’s a good idea to cut back. Instead, opt for fragrance-free or naturally scented products. For that refreshing aroma, try boiling cinnamon sticks or using essential oils.
8. Burn beeswax candles
Beeswax candles are an excellent alternative to their paraffin wax counterparts. Unlike the latter, which release toxins when burned, beeswax candles emit virtually no smoke or scent.
But their benefits don’t stop there; beeswax candles are natural ionizers, meaning they can help purify the air in your home. When a beeswax candle burns, it releases negative ions. These ions bind to the positive ions in dust, pollen, and other pollutants, making them fall to the ground, where they can be vacuumed.
So, not only do beeswax candles give off a beautiful glow, but they clean your air as they burn. Just be sure to choose 100% beeswax candles to get these benefits.
9. Let the fresh air in
The simplest solutions are often the best. Opening your windows circulates fresh air, pushing those indoor pollutants out. It’s like hitting the reset button on your home’s air.
Be mindful of the outdoor air quality and pollen count, especially if you’re an allergy sufferer. Polluted outside air can do more harm than good.
So, monitor local air quality forecasts and use your windows strategically. A breath of fresh air may be what your home needs!
10. Maintain a healthy humidity level
High humidity can transform your home into a paradise for mold and dust mites, aggravating allergies and asthma. Keep your indoor humidity levels balanced, ideally between 30% and 50%.
You can accomplish this with dehumidifiers or air conditioners during the hot, humid summer months and humidifiers in dry winter periods. Be sure to ventilate your bathrooms and kitchen properly, since these areas tend to be moisture-rich.
A hygrometer, available online or at a home center, can help you monitor humidity levels and make necessary adjustments. Healthy humidity levels help preserve indoor air quality while creating a more comfortable living environment.
11. Go smoke free
Second-hand smoke isn’t just unpleasant; it’s a health hazard, filled with more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful or deadly. Some rogue substances are known carcinogens that can linger in your home long after the smoke has cleared, sneaking into your lungs and bloodstream.
Going smoke-free is a no-brainer if you’re looking for the most effective way to maintain clean, healthy air in your home. Your air will be fresher and healthier, and your walls, furniture, clothes, and everything else will thank you.
12. Use natural cleaning products
Commercial cleaning products promise a sparkling clean, but they’re often loaded with harsh chemicals that can stick around in your air long after scrubbing. These toxins can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat and lead to splitting headaches.
The next time you shop for cleaning supplies, ditch the chemical soup and choose natural, non-toxic alternatives. Look for products with plant-based ingredients and essential oils. Plenty of eco-friendly options do an equally good job, if not better.
13. Consider salt lamps
Himalayan salt lamps attract water molecules from the surrounding air and absorb them and any foreign particles they may be carrying. As the interior light bulb lamp warms up the lamp, that same water evaporates while the trapped particles remain locked in the salt.
14. Maintain household appliances
Poorly maintained appliances like stoves, heaters, and ovens may release harmful gases or particles like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Regular checks and servicing can help reduce these emissions.
Where to Get Your Ducts Cleaned & Appliances Serviced in Los Angeles
From beeswax candles to state-of-the-art filtration systems, there are myriad ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home for a healthier and more comfortable environment.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in metro Los Angeles, West Coast Chief is your one-stop solution for two items on the list: ductwork cleaning and appliance repair.
Chief offers same-day service, hires only licensed technicians, and guarantees all work. So what are you waiting for? Call us today. You’ll breathe easier for it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Air Quality
Q: Can I rely solely on natural ventilation for air quality improvement?
A: While natural ventilation helps, we advise using additional methods like air purifiers for better results.
Q: What is the ideal humidity level for indoor spaces?
A: Maintaining humidity between 30-50% is generally considered ideal.
Q: How can I get my children to maintain good air quality habits?
A: Educate them about pollutants, make it a fun family activity, and set an example with your own habits.
Q: Are all-natural cleaning products equally effective?
A: Natural cleaning products are generally safer, but their effectiveness can vary depending on the ingredients and the specific cleaning task.
Q: How often should I get my ducts cleaned?
A: We recommend cleaning your ducts professionally every 3 to 5 years or more frequently if you have allergies or pets and smoke in the house.
Q: Can plants really improve indoor air quality?
A: Some plants can absorb toxins from the air. However, they should be used to supplement other air-cleaning methods, not as a primary solution.
Q: How do I know if my home has indoor air quality problems?
A: Common signs include persistent headaches, fatigue, dizziness, or worsening allergies. If you have these symptoms, consider testing your home’s air quality.
Q: Do salt lamps really purify the air?
A: Salt lamps can attract and trap contaminants, but their effectiveness is limited. It’s best to use them in conjunction with other methods.
Q: What are some easy ways to maintain a healthy humidity level?
A: Using dehumidifiers or humidifiers, properly ventilating bathrooms and kitchens, and regularly monitoring humidity levels with a hygrometer are all simple ways to maintain healthy humidity levels in your home.
Q: Are air purifiers worth the investment?
A: If you have allergies, pets, or live in a high-pollution area, air purifiers can be a worthwhile investment. Keeping your home smoke-free and using natural cleaning products can significantly improve indoor air quality.
Q: Can I improve air quality just by keeping my house clean?
A: Regular cleaning can improve indoor air quality by reducing dust and other pollutants. Use natural, non-toxic cleaning products to avoid introducing new pollutants.
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