How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Cigarette Smoke

Woman Smoking in the Home

Indoor air quality is equally important as the quality of food and drink we consume.   Breathing clean air should be taken as serious as the attention we devote to exercising. Most environmental pollutants enter our body by the air we breathe indoors.  These particles come from activities and products we use every day. We really need to pay attention to our inside  air quality being that a significant amount of time is spent sleeping, working in offices,  or just relaxing in front of the TV.  The list can’t be limited to what was just mentioned.  Many individuals spend hours in front of the TV playing video games.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that the average person receives 72% of their chemical exposure at home.

Tips and Solutions for Cleaner Air

Below is a list of ways to keep our indoor air cleaner.  It doesn’t matter if you live in New Jersey or any other state.  There is no location that is immune to air pollution.  Some of the preventive measures are obvious but it does no harm to hear them again.  The list: includes:

  1. Don’t allow smoking in your house.
  2. Change the air filter on your furnace or air conditioner every 30 days– Use a high efficiency air cleaner.
  3. Get rid of particle-board furniture– Particle board and other pressed woods often contain formaldehyde.
  4. Keep your home and basement dry– if you have cinder block in your basement and there is water stains on them, you have a moisture problem.   The best remedy is to get a dehumidifier.
  5. Vacuum your carpets often– carpets collect dust and pet dander.
  6. Get rid of airfresheners in the bathroom– They may smell good but do nothing in terms of improving the air quality.
  7. Avoid strong chemical house cleaners and cleansers.
  8. Avoid using moth balls-They are poison.
  9. Test for radon, asbestos, and lead.

Air Quality Improvement Strategies

Increase Ventilation

Open the windows in your home as the weather permits.  There’s nothing like the smell of fresh air.  This is especially important if you are painting or other fume emitting liquids.  Newer homes are more energy efficient than older ones.  If your home is well insulated, it keeps the cold out but also keeps the inside air locked in your house.  It’s a dual edged sword if you try to keep your house air tight.  Recirculating indoor air only blows around the particles in your home and keeps them flowing.  The main attraction to this choice is that it saves on your air conditioning use.

Source Control

A very good way to control your air quality is to identify the sources that release emissions and address each individually.  Odor removal falls in this category since we are aware that certain activities are associated with a specific smell. Source Control is a more “cost efficient” way of quality improvement than the ventilation option.

Air Cleaners

There are multiple types of air cleaners on the market.  Their prices vary as much as the choices you have.  The effectiveness of your air cleaner is measured by the amount of pollutants it collects versus the amount of air flowing through it.  There needs to be a balance of the two to get the most effective results.  The EPA does not recommend using air cleaners thinking it will reduce the level of radon.  Radon gas must be removed from your house and not filtered!

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