Breathe easy - a guide to improving indoor air quality

Breathe easy - a guide to improving indoor air quality image

What makes indoor air quality bad?

There are a number of things that can contribute to either bad-smelling or unhealthy air, that come from many places in and out of the home. Dangerous chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals can be present, as well as products of organic origin, such as mould, dust mites and pet dander.

How do these enter your home?

Dirt and grime are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and the production of mould, and are easily tracked in from outside by shoes, pets and clothes. New furniture and other products such as mattresses and whitegoods often have been treated with a number of chemicals that escape into the air, and can build up to high concentrations in unventilated rooms. Similarly, house cleaners such as disinfectant spray and other cleaning sprays can also release toxic chemicals that linger in the air.

Why are these things bad?

These days, the increased time spent inside coupled with the fact that houses are increasingly built to be airtight to improve insulation both contribute to the decreasing quality of our indoor air. Allergens that could have previously escaped from small gaps in doors and windows are now prevented from leaving, causing a build-up of these products, which can be very detrimental to health. Increased dust and pet hair in homes can cause allergic reactions, and volatile chemicals in the air have been shown to damage airways and lungs.

How can we stop this?

A great way of stopping pet dander and dirt from entering the house is to groom your pets regularly (see a previous post about this topic). Getting a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (or HEPA, for short) air-filter or vacuum cleaner can work wonders on your air quality. The high-density filter ensures even the smallest of compounds in the air will be sucked up and removed, including dust and chemicals. Cleaning or changing the filters already present in your air-conditioner, heater or vacuum will also help in removing these irritants if you don’t have a HEPA filter.

Using eco-friendly cleaning products are a great way to prevent nasty chemicals from entering your home in the first place, and installing some green plants in different rooms will help to filter and purify the air naturally.

Last but not least, open some windows! If all else fails, this is a certified quality method for circulating fresh air into the home and removing old stale air, and it’s effortless and absolutely free!

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