Opening windows periodically.
Purchasing and maintaining high-efficiency air cleaners and purifiers.
Installing a heat-recovery ventilator.
Utilizing radon detectors.
Trellising the home and office with air purifying plants.
Knock, knock, let me in!
Many people prefer to keep their homes air tight year round, but there is one main reason to open up the windows, and that is, to get the home ventilated at least once per week – let the impure air out and purer air in. Some of us are not aware of how impure the indoor air can be in the home, and as such continue to dwell in unsafe homes and unknowingly suffer the consequences of breathing in impurities – especially at nights. Of course, the outdoor air is not as pure as it used to be, but keeping the windows in the home tightly closed without a strategy to maintain clean, healthy air, is of course way worse than letting the outdoor air in. Also, anions commonly called “vitamin of the air” is usually in very small amounts in the home and the more anions or “vitamins of the air” we get in our environment, the better our overall health, including our lung, central nervous system, and brain functions will be.
One strategy for getting the best outdoor air indoor, is to open a window in each room every morning – very early, when pollutants from traffic and other sources are at their lowest levels, and leave them open for at least 45 minutes to an hour. You can get your home ventilated while you get ready for work; however, remember to close them before you leave for work.
For those of us living in seasonal countries, like the United States and Canada, we have to make the effort to ensure that our indoor air quality is pure and clean during the winter months when the home has to be kept air tight to contain the heat. Let us explore a few options that are suitable all year round but necessary in winter.
High-efficiency air purifier! (I like that) Can be expensive, but worth every penny.
Air purifiers can be quite expensive to purchase and to maintain, but if you can afford them – get them, they are worth every penny. The best air purifiers are those that quietly and effectively lower the airborne particle count in your home with several air changes per hour and a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). Some of the best ones are: Blueair 450E,RabbitAir BioGS, and Winix WAC5500.
Whatever air purifying system you purchase, remember to clean and change the filters as recommended by its manufacturer. Not adhering to their recommendation can and will defeat the purpose of having one installed in the first place.
Utilize Air-to-Air Combat
Heat-recovery ventilator, also known as air-to-air heat exchanger, can improve the quality of the indoor air. It increases ventilation by drawing purer, outside air into the home and exhausting more polluted, indoor air to the outdoors. A heat exchanger, installed in a window opening, or as part of a central air system, can significantly reduce levels of radon and other toxic gases.
Radon? What Radon? Give Radon the Boot!
Most of us don’t usually think about radon when it comes to indoor air quality; however, radon is a dangerous, potentially cancer-causing gas that can accumulate indoor and threathen our health. Not sure why some areas are more radon prone than others, but as far as in the home, the less ventilated areas such as the basements usually have more high levels than anywhere else indoor. Thankfully, there are radon detectors available on the market. The two most common are: charcoal canister and alpha track detector. They are usually exposed to the air in the home for a specified period of time, and subsequently sent to a radon testing laboratory for analysis. It is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have various locations in the home tested more than once in order to get a better estimate of the average radon concentration to which the entire family may be exposed.
Tips to get rid of radon if present in the home
Open all windows and turn on fans to increase the air flow into and throughout the home.
Seal cracks and other openings in basement floors. Inquire at your local plumbing supply company about special basement floor drains designed to allow water to drain while they seal out radon gas.
Do not sleep in a below-ground room. Since radon concentrations tend to be greater in the lower levels of a home, one who sleeps in a basement bedroom – or consistently sacks out in the basement’s recreational room – is at greater risk of becoming ill by radon than those who sleep and do most of their recreation upstairs.
Do not smoke indoor. Also, ask your guests to avoid smoking in your home. Studies have shown that smoking cigarettes exacerbates the risk of exposure to radon. (Smoking cigarettes is just plain bad! See “Help! Please Quit Smoking.” article for effects of cigarette smoking and how to get help quitting.
Let your plants clean the air: Types of plants to use to purify the air quality indoor
Aside from adding a decorative touch to your home environment, houseplants help to reduce formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, which are all indoor pollutants. According to Dr. Bill Wolverton – senior research scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “Fifteen to twenty potted plants of the right variety in an averaged size home would do the work of a good high-efficiency air cleaner.” He has identified several plants that are superb at purifying the air. Some of them are: philodendrons, spider plants, golden pothos, aloe vera, spathiphyllum (peace lily) potted ivy, and flowering bananas. These plants absorb formaldehyde fumes released from new carpeting and building materials, and clear substances like benzene (a carcinogen in cigarette smoke), and carbon monoxide from the air.
To wrap it all up: extreme care should be taken to ensure our indoor air quality is pure. This is especially important if you live in seasonal countries, like the US, and Canada where all windows and doors are kept tightly closed to keep the heat from getting out in the cold winter months. As such, it is advisable to have the home tested for radon by late fall, to determine its safety from radon. It is also a very good idea to situate plants such as, philodendrons, spider plants, golden pathos, spathiphyllum, and other types of dracaena throughout the home for purer air quality all year round and especially during the hibernated winter months.
Additional Tip: Remember to have your heating system, including the chimney checked before it is time to use them. Having them checked annually, just before winter when it is time to use them, can mean the difference between life and death. Most radon and carbon monoxide deaths occur in winter than any other season.
A combination of these methods will no doubt yield the best results. They will help you breathe the purest air quality while indoor.
What have you done to keep your indoor air quality pure? Please share.