Using apps, like MyAir (IPhone, Android), people can see the air quality in their city and the effect of different pollution levels on their health. PM2.5 is the level of small particulates present in the air that effect the user by inflaming lungs. Through Use of an air quality app the user can see the exact exposure that they are receiving on a day to day basis. This bad air quality works its way into your house and effects the user even when not outside.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is, simply put, the quality of air with and around buildings; for the sake of this blog post, I’ll focus on the quality of air within residential buildings. Pollutants working their way into a home have detrimental effects on resident health. Pollutants, such as smog and dust from outside may have short term effects—irritation of the eyes, irritation of the throat headaches, dizziness, and fatigue—as well as longer term respiratory diseases, heart disease, and inflamed allergies; a-semantic children and adults will see inflamed symptoms. Cities with heavy dust, such as Phoenix, and Inversion heavy cities, such as Denver, may make pollution control difficult, but good air quality is important and worth the effort. Below I have collect some tips and resources to improving the quality of indoor air quality.
How to Improve Home Air Quality:
Clean Surfaces, Clean Air
Dust build up on floors, counters, and other surfaces can happen quick and drastically effect the air quality in your home. Keeping floors clean with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner—HEPA prevents dust from being exhausted out the back—and moping.
Doormat is a Dust Saver
A doormat seems like a no brainer, but it is essential to dust control and preventing dust from being tracked into the home.
Dehumidify When Needed
Humid, damp areas with confined space and minimal to no ventilation make it easy for mold, mildew, and dust mites to grow. A dehumidifier is a fairly quiet and easy piece of machinery that can help to keep room humid under 30%, which will help with mildew and mold control. It’s important to keep mold, mildew, and dust mites under control because they are allergy triggers: stuffy nose, water eyes, sneezing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, skin rashes, and/or other irritations. An easy way to judge whether a dehumidifier would help improve humidity and air quality, look for signs of condensation in room, black spots on walls, must and mildew smells, or rooms with minimal to no ventilation.
Consider an Air Purifier
In houses with either pets and/or polluted location, build up of pollen, dust, dander, and particulates build up quickly. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter can help manage particulate level in the house. Allergens with people who have asthma will enflame and magnify symptoms of the respiratory disease. Not all air purifiers are the same, make sure to do your research and ensure that the product, the following is a good resource to start with: Allergy Consumer Review.
Don’t Smoke Indoors
Secondhand smoke, similar to door mats, may seem like a no brainer to most people, but inconvenient to smokers. Second hand smoke exposes other residents in the household to over 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are known to be harmful—cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia to name a few. These chemicals increase the risk of cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke in adults; and increase ear infections, asthma, respiratory symptoms, and respiratory infections in children. Secondhand smoke will not filter and clean out of the air by simply using air purifiers.
Don’t Purify Air with Artificial Fragrance
Air fresheners, contrary to popular belief, does not actually freshen the air. Air fresheners spray chemicals into the air to create an artificial fragrance, these scents enter through both lung and skin contact.
Consider an Air Purifying Plant
In 1989 NASA did a study to rank house plants based on air purifying properties. Species of plants were tested for the ability to clean air of toxic agents: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene, and Ammonia; All of which are compounds found in air pollution, aerosols, household chemicals, and etc. Here is a source for the full list of air cleaning plants, but a couple notable plants which are both easy to keep alive and aesthetically pleasing are peace lilys (left) and Florists’s Chrysanthemums (right).