When life gets stressful, we’re often told to relax and take some deep breaths. Breathing is supposed to help us feel calm and centered in the midst of our whirlwind lives.
But just how clean is the air we’re breathing?
Sure, if we’re running around town, we can’t do much about the air quality, but inside our homes, we can take certain steps to make our air cleaner and healthier, helping us to be happier and more relaxed. Read on for our easy tips for improving the air quality in your home.
Bring in the Great Outdoors
Adding houseplants inside your home can make a huge difference in the air quality.
Plants take in carbon monoxide and give off oxygen, exactly the opposite of humans and pets. The symbiotic relationship between people and plants means your family is breathing better.
Houseplants you might want to consider include Aloe, English Ivy, Rubber Tree Plant, Snake Plant, Bamboo Palm, and Red-Edged Dracaena. English Ivy and Bamboo Palm have been recognized by NASA for their excellent purifying power. They are all easy to care for and do well indoors with little sunlight.
In addition to giving off oxygen, these plants also remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air.
Keep Your HVAC System in Prime Condition
This includes changing your air filters regularly (at least every three months), keeping your ventilation system clean, and having your air ducts cleaned when needed.
Consider that all of the air in your home passes through your system several times per day. If your ducts and filters are filthy, you’re just recirculating (and breathing) dirty, dusty, contaminated air.
In addition to the cleaning and maintenance you perform yourself, have your HVAC technician visit once a year to perform an air quality test. This will let you know if there are specific air quality issues in your home that need to be addressed.
Consider Some Upgrades
If you live in a damp, humid climate, or if you suffer from allergies, you might need a whole home air purifier, which can remove 98% of pollen and mold spores.
You can also cut down on the humidity in your home by using a dehumidifier.
The EPA recommends that indoor humidity levels range from 30-60% — high humidity levels can encourage growth of bacteria and toxic mold. You’ll also want to protect against more dangerous toxins, such as carbon monoxide and radon.
Install a carbon monoxide monitor if you don’t already have one and have your home tested for radon.
Use Your Purchasing Power
Consider how the products you buy affect your air quality. Choose non-toxic household cleaning products labeled “unscented” or “fragrance free”. When fixing up your home, choose paints that are low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) and research furniture, cabinet, and flooring purchases to find products that do not contain formaldehyde.
Finally, keep your home clean and well-maintained. Remove shoes as soon as you enter the house. Vacuum floors and dust ceiling fans regularly. Keep pets well-groomed. Throw pillows and stuffed animals in the freezer every so often to kill dust mites.
All of these tips will help keep the air in your home cleaner and safer, allowing you to take nice, deep breaths on a chaotic day and truly feel relief.