How Clean is the Air in Your Home?
Across the board, scientists agree that the air quality in most residential homes is worse than in the great outdoors. The EPA actually goes so far as to say that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted! For a culture that tends to be fairly germaphobic, how can this be?
Surprisingly, our cleanliness can be a huge contributing factor. From the type of cleaning products to even the windows we install, our choices can be the biggest influence on our home’s air quality. But with a few simple changes, your home’s air can be clean and pure.
Energy efficient windows and doors are a wonderful invention for the planet and for monthly budgets, but not so much for air quality. By creating a perfect seal, any toxins, dust mites, pet dander, etc. gets trapped inside rather than filtering out through small cracks and openings. Yet, if you just throw open a window, you are inviting all outdoor pollens and pollutants inside, thereby negating any positive change you would experience otherwise. Instead, install a trickle vent which will filter out impurities in both directions.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a group of chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature, only to then linger in the air as health-inhibiting gases. Certain cleaning products, especially those with chlorine or ammonia, have extremely high levels of VOCs, which can induce headaches, fatigue, or nausea. By opting to clean your home with natural products like vinegar and baking soda, you can begin to limit the amount of pollutants you are adding to your own home and the world.
AC and Filters
We all know that trapped moisture leads to mold and spore growth that can induce wheezing and other respiratory issues when inhaled. By simply running your home’s air conditioning, it will help dry up any excess humidity that might be present. Plus, more air is pulled through your home’s air filter with the AC running than when it is not. Be diligent about replacing the filter bi-monthly to ensure adequate air purification.
Easily the most beautiful tip for cleaning up your home’s air comes straight from NASA. In looking for ways to decontaminate air in the space station, scientists began studying houseplants and found that plants like Boston ferns, peace lilies, and aloe vera were able to filter out formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene, and many other harsh chemicals. Simply add some greenery to your rooms — something we at Modernize do as much as possible — and you are well on your way to a cleaner environment.
Although each individual’s sensitivity to pollutants and allergens is different, it is safe to say that everyone who comes into your home will benefit from your dedication to making the air quality as clean and pure as possible.
Meet Bryn Huntpalmer: Modernize
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.
Photo Credits: Modernize
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Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children and Kitty Paw. She’s a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time chasing her preschooler, nursing her new baby, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.