Given the current pandemic, people are spending more time inside now than ever. According to the EPA, though, concentrations of air pollutants can be up to 5 times higher than average outdoor concentrations. This can have adverse side effects, especially for those who may spend more time indoors due to medical conditions.
Never fear! While it can be difficult to figure out where to start, we’ve compiled a list of steps you can take to improve your home’s air quality. Here are four actionable steps you can take, along with a multitude of tips!
Step 1: Get Informed
First and foremost, it’s crucial to know what needs improving. We recommend scheduling a home indoor air quality test so you know what you’re up against. Anything from pet dander, mold, tobacco smoke, or ozone from cleaning products can affect your air quality and, by extension, your health.
During an air quality test, a specialist will come to your house and identify potential pollutant sources and inspect your air conditioning system. After this audit, you should know what pollutants are affecting your home. You may even be able to find a connection between air pollutants and a health issue.
Step 2: Clean Your Home Thoroughly
After your audit, you may realize there’s something in your home that could be contributing to air pollutants, like carpet or draperies. It can come as a surprise. No shame, we’ve all been there! It could even come from a product you use to clean. Here are a few home cleaning tips we recommend:
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products. Not only will you eliminate potential ozone in your air, the Earth will thank you! Here’s an all-natural enzyme cleaner we recommend.
- Clean and sanitize your carpet (if you have it). Ideally, you should avoid carpet altogether as it can trap in dander, grime, and other possible pollutants. If you like your carpet or you can’t get rid of it, though, we recommend sanitizing and cleaning you carpet with something like this Sanitaire carpet cleaner.
- Mop your floors frequently. Even if you don’t have carpet in your home, your hardwood, laminate, or tile floors can still be host to dust, dander, and a wealth of other pollutants. We recommend this Reliable mop.
- Clean walls, ceilings, window frames, and door frames weekly. We don’t usually think of these as being places where dirt and dust hide, but they hold more grime than you’d think! You can use a damp cloth like this e-cloth set to get started.
- Change your vacuum filter on a regular basis. We often forget to replace or clean our filters, but this is essential. Forgetting this may mean your vacuum has to work overtime to get rid of dirt and possible allergens. A well-maintained vacuum is instrumental to a squeaky-clean home.
Step 3: Be Smart About Your AC and Heating Devices
It’s still pretty warm where we are, so air conditioning is almost always a welcome relief. We run our air conditioning often here, so it’s important that it’s well-maintained. Even if you’re not in the hot, humid South, here are some ways to be smart about your air conditioning:
- Set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise in summer. If you’ve never tried this, you’re missing out! Changing your ceiling fan’s direction will make it run at a higher speed, creating a breezy effect that will make you feel cooler.
- Unplug appliances when you aren’t using them. Devices plugged into sockets use heat. Anywhere you can eliminate heat is useful, so unplug those appliances!
- Use a dehumidifier in conjunction with your AC. Dehumidifiers remove moisture, something we’re all too familiar with here in the South. Once that moisture is gone, your AC can run more efficiently and will cool your home quicker.
It is September, though, so that crisp fall weather is right around the corner for many. Many of you will be using your heaters soon, so make sure you’re doing these 4 things:
- Have your heating system inspected regularly. Regular care and maintenance can save you so much money on electricity bills!
- Set your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. Remember what I said earlier? This will do the opposite, pulling cool air up and pushing warm air down.
- Close your chimney’s flue if it’s not in use. Eliminate pesky drafts anywhere you can!
- NEVER use your oven to heat your house. Not only is this inefficient, but it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning or even start a fire.
It’s so important to be proactive in avoiding potential allergens and pollutants. There are other ways to improve your home’s air quality that aren’t just about your AC and heating systems. If you live in an apartment or you’re just on a tight budget, don’t worry about replacing your entire heating and cooling system. Here are a few other things to do:
- Be sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Be sure you have detectors in your home and that they’re working properly!
- Invest in a humidifier for the winter. These are awesome if you live in a dry climate. Not only are these perfect for the dry, cold weather, but they can also help with inflammation caused by allergies. This humidifier is one of our favorites.
- Get an air purifier. These destroy dust mites, mold, and other allergens. They’re also great if you live in an apartment and can’t change your air conditioning and heating system. We love this sleek purifier from Airfree.
There are a lot of options on this list—don’t be intimidated! Just taking one step to improve your home air quality is a step in the right direction. No matter your air quality situation, there are big and small things you can do to eliminate pollutants and allergens. You have plenty of options and we’re here to help! For more products, check out our other air purifiers and our general home cleaning solutions.