How to: Improve indoor air quality. Upgrade the air you breathe most frequently.
When you figure in sleep, we spend more time breathing the air in our homes than anywhere else. Unfortunately that air is some of the most stagnant air we encounter. Today we'll take a look how to improve indoor air quality. To set the table: one thing we won’t be talking about in this post are air purification systems. The ones that work are big, expensive, and typically needed by people with serious breathing issues who should consult a doctor. The readily available residential air purifiers at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond either aren't particularly effective or have harmful side effects like the production of ozone.
What are some simple things can we do to improve indoor air quality? What works? What is reasonably affordable? Where should we start?
First if you have forced air change those filters. This will has the added benefit of saving you money through more efficient operation, but mostly it will remove all that dust they have trapped previously. You should change these at least every 4 months, but more often in heavy use seasons.
Cleaning & Tools:
Clean or replace your vacuum. Many of us have old vacuums with dirty filters and brushes caked with hair/dirt, using them moves around the dirt rather than removes it. Stirring up dust and dirt creates more indoor air pollution more than it traps. Once every few months take time to clean brushes, filters, replace bags etc. You'll be rewarded with a vacuum that works more effectively and with better indoor air quality. If your vacuum is beyond hope look at one of the new HEPA filter enhanced ones sold through major retailers like Target. One other trick is to run your recirculation fan on the HVAC system while cleaning. This will help the filters you previous changed trap the dust stirred up by cleaning.
Rather than sweep and push the dust around, switch to electrostatic dusters like "Swiffer" which do a much better job of trapping dust and dirt. Make a habit of dusting counters and shelves as well as moping at least somewhat consistently - this regiment is far more effective that just sweeping. Again on the days you cleaning run the fan on your furnace to pull any dust in the air through the filters to be trapped.
A Little Green:
So far we have mostly talked about how to clean and eliminate dust and dirt in your house. There is another simple, natural, and effective way to improve air quality, bring some greenery indoors. Plants help to clean the air by removing toxins and naturally help to humidify the air improving its overall quality. Plants are especially effective at removing VOC's including: formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene. Here are some of the most effective plants for cleansing indoor air, there are many more listed in this Wikipedia article.
- Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) no non-toxic.
- Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) non-toxic.
- Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') no non-toxic.
- Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata) non-toxic.
- Lilyturf (Liriope spicata) non-toxic.
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) non-toxic.
Thanks for the time today, what are some things you have done to improve indoor air quality in your house?