4 Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality
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Reducing pollutants in the home can improve your overall health and help reduce the symptoms of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and allergies. Follow these simple tips to improve the indoor air quality in your home and help you breathe easier.
1. Change Furnace Filters
The air filter in your furnace traps many of the particles contained in the air in your home. Air filters are given a rating on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale. A higher MERV rating translates to a better filter that can trap smaller particles in your air. MERV 1-4 filters are very inexpensive and do little to improve your air quality. MERV 5-8 filters are of medium quality and are sufficient for most residential applications. MERV 9-12 filters are of high quality and are ideal for those who suffer from allergies and asthma.
2. Vacuum Away Dust
A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter removes chemicals and allergens that accumulate in household dust. It traps toxins and contaminates and ensures they don't get blown into your air through your vacuum's exhaust, thereby improving your indoor air quality. Run the vacuum over each area several times to ensure the optimum removal of dust. Use an upholstery brush on upholstered surfaces and don't forget to vacuum the corners of your rooms and underneath your furniture. As an added dust-busting bonus, turn on your thermostat's fan setting while you vacuum and leave it on for 15 minutes afterward to help remove dust that is sent into the air by the vacuum's agitator and exhaust.
3. Reduce Chemical Cleaners
Synthetic fragrances found in products such as laundry detergent, household cleansers, and air fresheners contain a large number of chemicals that can significantly decrease your indoor air quality. Plug-in air fresheners alone can contain up to 20 different volatile organic compounds or VOCs, some of which are regulated as toxic by the federal government. Use mild or all-natural household cleaners whenever possible and rely on natural ingredients, such as lemons and baking soda, to remove household odors.
4. Plants As Decoration
Household plants do an excellent job of absorbing chemical pollutants in your air. Ferns, aloe, spider plants, and bamboo palms are four sturdy plants that can reduce VOCs and many other chemical pollutants in your home's air. If you have pets or children, make sure the plants are non-toxic in case of ingestion.