Easy Tips For Improving Your Indoor Air Quality At Home
After over a year of quarantining, staying socially distant, and finding fun in the confines of our own homes, we’ve spent a lot of time inside. But, even as we return to normal, it might surprise you to learn that on average, we spend approximately a colossal 90% of our time indoors, whether it’s inside our homes, work offices (now home offices), shopping centers, or other businesses. That’s a substantial amount of time inside which begs the question: do we really know what we are breathing in?
Indoor air pollution is a huge concern for everyone, not just for springtime allergy sufferers, asthmatics, and pet owners. Clean air is crucial to maintain good respiratory health and keep pesky allergy triggers at bay, and indoor air pollution can be up to five times higher than the pollution from outdoors. While many allergy sufferers are made aware of these irritants in the air via sneezing, red eyes, and throat irritation, minor ailments like headache, dizziness, and fatigue may be caused from air pollution as well.
We can’t fully control the indoor air quality of our offices and public places, but we can take action at home, especially since we spend so much time there. So, breathe easy and take in these simple ways to improve the air quality in your house.
How To Improve Your Home’s Air Quality In 5 Steps
1. Bring the outside in
A little fresh air can make a big difference when it comes to the indoor air quality of your home. Periodically open your windows to get outdoor air circulating and moving through your house.
It doesn’t matter the season—in fact, opening the window for a short period of time is especially beneficial in the winter months since dry air from your home heating system often stays trapped inside with little circulation. Fresh air from outside can get the flow going again and help improve the quality of your indoor air.
2. Declutter and refresh
Keeping your home clean and tidy definitely benefits your overall wellbeing, but it can especially benefit your respiratory system. Clutter commonly traps dust and can cause an unpleasant coughing fit as it gets kicked into the air.
Make sure you pay close attention to anything in your home that has the potential to hold allergens and trigger your allergies, including drapes and blinds, bedding such as pillows and mattresses, and anywhere else where dust collects. Vacuuming twice a week also helps to remove allergens from carpets and rugs where pet dander, dust, and other air pollutants lurk.
3. Check your HVAC system regularly
Monitor your HVAC system to ensure it’s working to your advantage and bringing the best air quality to you. Simply put, the longer you put off changing your filters, the harder your system has to work, which challenges the effectiveness of the filtration. Every system is different, but it’s generally wise to replace your air filters every 3 months at least to ensure it’s filtering properly.
4. Remove possible air pollutants
If you adopted a wealth of houseplants to increase oxygen found naturally in your home, you may want to rethink your strategy. While houseplants naturally bring the outside in, there are some downsides to keeping them when it comes to air quality. Plants can also promote mold, especially if they’re overwatered, and this can negatively impact the air you breathe. The same goes for candles and wood-burning fireplaces or stoves—they smell fantastic but can create air pollution in your home.
Additionally, humidity in the home can create a breeding ground for mold. Make sure you address any water damage to rid your home of mold and any possible trapped moisture. Ideally, the humidity in your home shouldn’t exceed 60%. Between 30% and 50% is a good range to fall within. Investing in a dehumidifier may help if humidity is something you struggle with in your home.
5. Get an air purifier with a HEPA filter
Air purifiers work to filter out small and invasive pollutants affecting your indoor air quality. They take in the bad stuff like smoke, odors, dust, and pet dander and push good air out, keeping it moving to circulate and refresh what you breathe in. Finding an air purifier with a HEPA filter is important to reducing as much air pollution as possible indoors.
What is a HEPA filter?
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” The inside of the filter contains thin strands of fiberglass to create a net for any air pollution in your home.
By the EPA’s standards, a HEPA filter is able to capture at least 99.97% of air particles measured at 0.3 microns which means that it’s equipped to grab very miniscule pollutants from the indoor air. Many common pollutants such as bacteria, mold, pollen, and dust can be effectively removed from your indoor atmosphere with a HEPA filter.
But do HEPA air purifiers really work?
In short, yes. We might be biased, but the more junk you can filter out of your indoor air, the better. A HEPA air purifier works hard to filter out airborne pollutants and particles that other air purifiers are unable to capture effectively. Especially if you are an allergy sufferer, a HEPA air purifier could be a game changer for neutralizing the air in your living space.
For the most effectiveness, it’s also helpful to look at the CADR which stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. This number lets you know the cleaning speed of the air purifier. We recommend a CADR no lower than 300.
Tips For Getting Good Use of Your Air Purifier
Ensure your air purifier has a HEPA filter
Check to make sure the air purifier you purchase is compliant with the size of the room where it will live. Typically, each air purifier will give you a recommended square footage for effective filtration of that room.
Place your air purifier in the most commonly used rooms in your home
Change and/or clean the air filters regularly (follow the instructions that come with your air purifier for best practices)
Finding a quality purifier for your house
Now that you have identified what may be compromising the air quality in your home and which triggers to address, it’s time to decide which air purifier will work best for you. If you’re looking for a HEPA filter with additional filtration systems to extend the life and efficacy of your purifier, we recommend the VEVA ProHEPA 9000.