People often view their homes as safe havens where they are sheltered from the outside world’s harmful elements. With increasing levels of gas fumes and other industrial pollutants present in the air, there’s a common belief that the air in people’s homes is cleaner than outside. While a well-insulated home keeps us warm in winter and a well-ventilated house helps us stay cool in the hotter months, this doesn’t correlate to good air quality.
Modern homes are generally insulated a lot better than older houses. This makes for a more efficient, temperature-controlled home, but it also traps pollutants and allergens, which can adversely affect air quality. The concentration levels of certain pollutants can be up to five times higher indoors than in outdoor environments, making an allergy filter a must-have in a home.
Although you may spend more time outdoors during summer, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. With most harmful pollutants being odorless, you need to prioritize improved air quality year-round before it triggers health problems. The following guide takes you through six long-term solutions to improving your home’s air quality.
Maintain A Clean Home
Maintaining a clean home is critical in improving the air quality of space over the long term. No matter what other actions you take to create a healthier environment, if you don’t keep your home clean, dust, pollutants, and allergens will develop, reducing the air’s quality. Ensure that cleaning is part of your routine.
The main focus areas should be on reducing the buildup of dust, mold, and animal dander. It’s important to include hard-to-reach areas such as under sofas and beds and behind cabinets. Otherwise, the buildup will accumulate and affect the quality of the air.
Carpets, rugs, mats, bedsheets, and drapes should all be cleaned regularly, particularly if there are pets in the house or someone has a respiratory or allergy problem, such as asthma—wash clothes and materials at 140°F to eliminate dust and allergens. Dust-mite-proof bedding is another great option if you are susceptible to allergy issues.
If you’re struggling to reduce the amount of dust in your home, decluttering can help prevent dust from becoming easily trapped.
Remove Items That Pollute The Air
A great starting point for improving air quality is to remove sources that pollute the air or produce harmful emissions. Some insulation systems contain materials like asbestos, which should be removed immediately, as it contains carcinogenic properties. Other common sources of pollution include tobacco, coal, paints, and pesticides. While these items are important, they should be stored outdoors in a concealed environment.
Gas stoves and fireplaces should be controlled carefully to reduce emissions. These appliances can generally be adjusted to decrease the release of harmful materials. Although ventilation can be a good solution for reducing the effects of such pollutants, source control can be more cost-effective.
If you’re unsure whether the building materials used to construct your home are safe, consider hiring a professional to inspect the property.
Ensure Adequate Kitchen And Bathroom Ventilation
Ventilation promotes airflow and provides an avenue to release stale air, allergens, and pollutants. Two areas that require dedicated ventilation systems are the bathroom and kitchen.
During cooking, an abundance of steam and hot air is generated. If it isn’t ventilated properly, mold can start to form on the ceiling and other appliances, which can be detrimental to your health.
Steam from a shower or bath can also create mold and mildew that can lead to throat irritation, respiratory illness, and a host of other discomforts. Although natural ventilation through windows can be effective, it may not be suitable in all climates. Dedicated ventilation systems, such as exhaust fans for kitchens and bathrooms, can contribute significantly to indoor air quality.
Install A Mini Split Air Conditioner
A ductless mini-split air conditioner is perhaps the most useful approach to improving your home’s air quality. Unlike traditional HVAC systems, mini-split devices don’t use ductwork. This means no vulnerable areas within ducts for mold, dust, or animal dander to build up before being circulated around a building.
Mini-split systems operate using refrigerant lines to draw in the air, rather than a pump, meaning it is a much cleaner system. Ductless mini-splits are small, discreet, and virtually silent in operation, making them suitable for all rooms. This allows you to have high-quality air throughout your entire home.
There are single and multi-zone mini splits, with different systems being more suitable for specific spaces. A single-zone split is suitable for one room or a small studio apartment. Multi-zone splits can come with as many as eight indoor air handler units per outdoor condenser. Its size determines the power required per mini-split system in square feet.
Change Filters On Devices
If you have filtered devices that contribute to your home’s air quality, such as vacuum cleaners or air purifiers, ensure you regularly wash or change the filters. If a filter is doing its job, it will trap dust and other airborne pollutants, preventing them from spreading. However, once a filter gathers a certain amount of irritants, they start to be redispersed around the room.
Limit The Number Of Indoor Plants
Although some plants can promote the spread of oxygen and generate healthy air in your home, they could be doing you more harm than good. Plants often contain allergy triggers that you may be unaware of. Due to the moisture levels required to keep plants alive, they can facilitate the growth of mold.
You don’t need to eradicate nature from your home, but limiting the number of plants can improve air quality.
Embrace The Fresh Air
Your home should not only be a comfortable and happy place but be safe. Many people’s homes have poor indoor air quality without their knowledge. Ensure you take appropriate measures to improve the air quality of your home.
From cracking a window in your bedroom to installing a mini-split air conditioning unit, there are several solutions to creating a safer home environment. Embrace the fresh air and rid your home of unwanted pollutants.