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5 tips to improve indoor air quality

Your quick resource on how to improve indoor air quality in your home or office.

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Adding plants to your space is one way to improve indoor air quality. Photo by Terriko on Flickr.If you're trying to improve indoor air quality in your home, you're not alone. Indoor air quality issues can pose environmental hazards for the people living there.

When people think of air pollution, they think of outside air, but indoor air pollution is an even more serious issue, thanks to allergens in the air like pet dander, house dust mites, mold, cigarette smoke, cleaning solvents and animal dander.

The cleaning solvents and cleaning chemicals you use can also play a role in triggering an allergy or an asthma attack in one or more of a home's inhabitants. Check out below for ways you can improve the indoor air quality in your home.

Tip No. 1: Be a cleaning machine

One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality in your home is to keep your floors perfectly clean. There are corners of your home where dust has accumulated for what probably amounts to years.

Take a Saturday afternoon to:

    • Clean deep into every corner of your space.
    • Clean and wash the top of tall cabinetry to kill all the dust that accumulates there.
    • Use a vacuum that has a HEPA air filter so you can trap all the allergens that are threatening your family's health.

The HEPA filter holds all the dust inside so that it doesn't get blown back out of the vacuum and into your room. You'll want to find a vacuum that has a strong suction mechanism. Make sure that your vacuum comes with attachments so that you can clean as many surfaces as you can, including your entire sofa, upholstery, curtains and walls. Make sure you empty out and wash your filter regularly.

Tip No. 2: Install and maintain an air conditioner

Another way you can improve air quality in your home is via the air conditioner you choose. An AC can be responsible for releasing a lot of toxins into the air if it's not cared for properly. You may think you're safe because your air conditioner has a filter, but filters only block a small percentage of toxins. Air conditioning units tend to be moist and damp on the inside, creating the perfect environment for mold to build up.

Before you install a home cooling system, check with an HVAC contractor to make sure the model you choose rates highly in terms of air quality. Make sure the installer also help you keep them well maintained over time.

If you have a central AC unit, have a specialist clean the ductwork with an EPA-registered biocide at least once a year. The entire unit should be cleaned every three to seven years.

Air conditioner prices are always an issue, but your health is important. Choose the very best model you can afford. Make sure to get an air conditioner estimate that includes installation if you're going to have a contractor install it. Check to see if your warranty helps with maintenance. 

Improve indoor air quality of your space now! Connect with an HVAC contractor!

Tip No. 3: Invest in a dehumidifier

Related to air conditioners, having a dehumidifier is really helpful. Moister in your home can cause mold. This is especially true in certain climates in the U.S., like that of the Northwest. Because mold spreads through spores in the air, it can irritate allergies.

Unfortunately, dust mites are attracted to humidity too. They can be in your carpet, curtains, bedding and so forth. Dust mites not only hurt those with allergies, but also those with asthma as well.

One of the most important factors in purchasing a dehumidifier is selecting one with the correct capacity. In other words, it has to handle the room size in order to function properly.

Once you have a dehumidifer, keep the humidity level in your home or office at 30 to 50 percent.

Tip No. 4: Ventilate

Make sure your home gets plenty of ventilation. Poorly installed heating or cooking appliances that are run by gas can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Make sure that your gas appliances are installed by professionals who know exactly what they're doing. The appliances need to be vented to the outside of the home. 

Tip No. 5: Green it up

Add indoor plants to your space. Plants are an easy and inexpensive way to improve your indoor air quality. The plants naturally clean the air for you by filtering out volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are found in a number of products.

Consider these plants since they're easy to care for:

    • Aloe.
    • Spider plant.
    • Snake plant.
    • Golden pothos.
    • Chinese evergreen.

Indoor plants add an extra bonus of being good for your eyes. This is especially true if you stare at a computer screen for long periods of time. Taking a break and focusing on a plant causes your eyes to refocus. It also produces a calming effect.

Check out Reply! to find more seasonal tips. You'll literally be able to smell the difference in your home once you take steps to improve indoor air quality.

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Photo credit: Terriko via Compfight CC.