Better air quality can keep your family healthier and even improve your quality of life, your sleep, and maybe even help you live longer. And with many of us spending more time than ever at home and indoors, it’s never been more important to have a healthy living environment.
The three keys to better air in your home include the following:
- Filtering the indoor air
- Adding fresh air whenever possible
- Keeping humidity low
If you can do these three things, you will find that the air in your home seems fresher and that odors are reduced.
There are several ways to achieve better air quality within your home and prevent mold growth, aiming for the three goals above. Let’s look at a few things you can do to improve indoor air quality to keep your family healthier and make your home a more pleasant environment.
Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality
Hopefully, you now understand the importance of cleaner air. Now let’s look at a few ways to get it!
- Remove pollutants from the air. This includes chemicals like paint and cleaning solutions, but it can also be something a little more difficult to remove from your home, like pets. Relocate these items to another area if possible.
- Conduct regular mold inspections for your home. You can give your home a once-over periodically to check for signs of mold, but we also highly recommend scheduling Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois for a professional mold inspection each year to look for mold growth in hard to reach areas like HVAC vents, in the walls and under appliances.
- Open the windows. Air gets recycled constantly inside, and although it may be filtered before it is recirculated, it can become stale and develop odors. Opening the windows to let fresh air in is one of the easiest ways to freshen the air inside your home. However, if it is too humid or pollution is high, it’s best to wait until another day to open the windows.
- Upgrade your thermostat. Some modern thermostats have a “circulate” setting that keeps air moving even if the heat or air conditioning is off. You can set it to run the HVAC fans for a short time each hour to keep air flow going 24 hours a day. These are not necessarily smart appliances.
- Run your bathroom exhaust fans. These fans are underestimated tools for improving air quality. Bathroom exhaust fans are intended to remove odors and excess humidity from the bathroom, but they can actually do this job for extended periods of time, benefiting more than just the bathroom if you leave the doors open.
- Buy a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can really help reduce the humidity in the air, which in turn lessens the chance of mold and mildew in your home and can filter out some of the pollutants in the air as well. If you already own a dehumidifier, maintain it by cleaning it regularly and changing the filters on time.
- …and know when to add humidity to the air as well. It may sound counter-intuitive, but at some points during the year – the winter months, for most U.S. climates – indoor air becomes very dry and needs to a little humidity added to make to easier for you to breathe. It may be necessary to run a humidifier in your bedroom or living areas for short periods during the year to combat dry air.
- Pay extra for good air filters. Don’t buy the cheapest filters you find, as they are generally lower quality and don’t work as well. You will find yourself replacing cheap filters sooner than high quality ones. Better filters usually come with recommendations from trusted environmental agencies as well.
- Don’t use scented products. Just like the chemicals we mentioned earlier, even your air fresheners and candles have some of these same harmful compounds in them, such as formaldehyde and benzene. Although they may smell great initially, the residue from candle wax, room sprays, and diffusers can do as much damage as pollution inside your home.
- Get a few plants. Indoor plants brighten up any room by adding a little color, and plants can actually improve your mood. The health benefits of houseplants don’t stop there, though. Leafy, green plants filter pollutants in the air, whether from outside or indoor sources. They also add more pure oxygen to the air and get rid of carbon dioxide naturally.
- Clean air ducts. Your HVAC system works hard most days of the year, whether it’s keeping your family warm or cool. Check the ducts periodically to make sure there is no dust buildup inside, or, worst case scenario, something has torn the ducts causing you to lose heated or cooled air and allowing dirty air into your home. You may require the help of an HVAC specialist to check the ducts.
- Maintain kitchen vents. The hood above your stove and your microwave’s carbon filter both need to be checked and cleaned regularly. Food particles produce some of the worst household odors, and they can be a food source for ants and rodents if they are allowed to settle in the kitchen. Your vents pull these particles out of the kitchen and release them outdoors, but the vents can easily become clogged because of moisture and grease. Clean them and replace any filters as soon as you notice they are not performing at their maximum ability.
- Finally, clean your floors often. This is something you are probably already doing, but we must emphasize how important it is to sweep, mop and vacuum regularly to remove dust, pollen, pet dander and other particles from your home. No matter where these particles originate, they always settle on the floor, so develop a routine that involves deep cleaning at least once a year. You can also limit the wearing of outdoor shoes inside the house to prevent some of the transfer that occurs from normal foot traffic.