Indoor air quality is so important to our health because most of us spend most of our time inside, whether we want to or not. Americans spend an average of 93% of their time indoors. So even if you think the indoor air in your home or office is in good shape, there may be good, natural ideas to improve indoor air quality. This could be more important if your home or a frequent place your spending time in has a poor air quality.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air quality is dependent on many variables. Most of them, though, are in our control. A number of pretty easy, simple fixes can add up to major benefits for you and your family. Some sources of poor air quality are:
- Pet hair and dander
- Outdoor air pollution
- Volatile organic compounds from paint, furniture, flooring, cleaners and cosmetics
- Standard cleansers, air fresheners, and other fragrances
- Gas stoves and other appliances
- Wetness and mold
- Carpeting, drapes and various other home furnishings that hold dust and other particulates
Natural Ideas to Improve Indoor Air Quality
There are a number of positives to getting a good vacuum, including possibly with a HEPA filter, and running it frequently. The more pets, or outdoor to indoor traffic, and the more carpets or rugs you have in your house, the more you need to vacuum.
Along with vacuuming, here are more steps to keep in mind if you’re trying to control allergens and irritants in your home’s air.
- The more carpet and rugs you have, the more often you should deep clean them.
- Clean drapes, blinds, bed sheets, and surfaces where dust, pollen, and mites can gather and stay.
- Leave shoes at the door or another spot that limits how much pollen, dust, microscopic “stuff” and dirt goes all over living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
There can be something to being too clean or using too many chemicals and compounds to clean. Like our digestive tract, our home has a microbiome. Children who are around family pets or farm animals actually have less likelihood of asthma.
Groom the Dog, Outside
So many of us love our pets. They can be a serious source of indoor air pollution. Pets should be bathed, groomed, and brushed and, if possible, do it outside so you don’t have to brush the cat or dog, then have an even more difficult mess to clean up inside. There are more health benefits for the pet. You’ll help decrease the shedding and dust level inside, especially in the spring and summer when there’s going to be the combo of shedding and pollen which troubles many of us.
Natural Air Fresheners
Conventional air fresheners don’t in fact freshen the air, they simply put other toxins into it. Natural air fresheners function in a different way. As opposed to concealing smells they neutralize them at the source. Using air fresheners doesn’t mean you can leave trash or moldy areas in your home. You need to dispose of these odors and matters no matter what. Using natural air fresheners and essential oils can reduce bacteria, dust, and some airborne contaminants while fighting odors.
Candles smell and look nice. Not all candles are the same, though. Some candles create more interior pollution. Beeswax candles do not, they actually create cleaner air.
Airborne particles or contaminants have positively charged ions. Burning beeswax candles creates negative ions. Negative and positive ions bond, which makes for cleaner air like a natural filter. You can still get a nice, clean smell, too.
Beeswax candles are often valuable for people with asthma or allergies. They remove irritants and dust from the air. Beeswax candles burn slower than paraffin candles so they last longer.
The HVAC System
Candles, oils, and plants are fun and creative, unlike a home’s HVAC. The HVAC system, though, is supposed to treat and improve all of the air inside your home.
The HVAC system filters, or is supposed to, all the air coming into a building. If you live in a more polluted area, it makes the HVAC’s efficiency more vital. In less polluted areas, it’s great to open windows or screens sometimes and let fresh air help your air quality, the utility bills, and the stress on the HVAC.
You need to change HVAC filters as recommended and get regular, pro maintenance on the system as recommended. You can look into and try essential oils which can go on filters.
Charcoal is a new product or ingredient when it comes to water filtration. It can remove toxins and contaminants from the air, too.
Activated charcoal absorbs chemicals and neutralizes them. It can do it in water and air. You can use bamboo charcoal in burlap bags inside. You can try this out in smaller quantities in a car or bathroom.
Know Lower VOC
Flooring, paint, sprays and cleaners, even furniture, and some materials can give off volatile organic compounds or VOCs. According to the U.S. EPA, VOCs can cause many bad health effects. Some are short-term, like dizziness and headaches, some are long-term, even cancers.
Looking into natural cleaners and products with more organic, less chemical (fewer VOCs) make-ups may be valuable. If you’re looking into new furnishings, flooring remodels and projects, then building materials, pieces of furniture, and the actual flooring, bedding, or wall material might need a little research about VOCs and emissions in an indoor environment.
At South End Heating and Air, we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.