Sunday, 7 June 2009

6 Easy Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Did you know the air quality in your apartment or home can be five times worse than the air outside? It's true! Inadequate ventilation, high humidity, and many household products are jeopardizing the air you breathe, and an increased number of indoor air pollutants can cause eye, throat, and nose irritations, as well as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. They may even cause respiratory disease, heart disease, and cancer.

With all that looming over your head - and filling your lungs - it's more important than ever to whip your air into shape, and that's an easy, breezy thing to do. Follow these steps.

1. Open the windows.
The more outdoor air you bring inside, the better. Whenever possible, open as many windows as you can. (In the wintertime, try opening a window or two just slightly when you know you'll be away for a short amount of time. It may be a little chilly when you get back, but you'll breathe much easier.)

To make sure that clean air is circulated, turn on ceiling fans or strategically position oscillating fans around your house. If possible, switch on the attic fan and keep doors open to allow the air to move freely about your home.

2. Invest in houseplants.
Placing one plant approximately every 10 square yards can do wonders for your air quality. Try peace lilies, bamboo palms, English ivy, mums, and gerbera daisies, which can remove dangerous toxins like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene.

3. Take off your shoes.
Store your shoes in your entryway - or better yet, the garage - to avoid tracking mud and dirt through your home. It may take a bit of time to get used to, but the change is well worth it. Plus, you'll save time sweeping and vacuuming each week.

4. Use green cleaning products.
Traditional cleaning supplies are filled with toxic chemicals that leach into your air and eventually your lungs, so take our suggestions and clean with nontoxic products instead.

5. Vacuum and dust often.
Sweep up all that dirt, hair, and other debris scattered on your floors at least once a week - more often if you have pets. And consider purchasing a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which sucks up even more airborne particles.

6. Purchase an air purifier.
An air purifier can help eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke, animal dander, pollen, and mold and mildew, but before you lug one home, do your research. Check its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), a number based on the cubic feet of air purified in one minute. Compare the square footage of your room to the purifier's CADR. In general, you'll need a purifier with a CADR that's three-fourths as big as your square footage.

When you're finished, take a deep breath and appreciate that clean air. And don't forget to share with us what other steps you're taking to improve your indoor air quality.

Lexicon Corp
The Home Know-It-All: Your One-Stop Shop for Home Design, Improvement, and Repair

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