Clean air… is that possible these days? Guest blogger, Karl Fendelander, thinks so. If you want to know how you can make the air you breath cleaner, then keep reading!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in today’s world we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. Yet when headaches, fatigue, congestion, dizziness and itchy eyes rear their ugly heads, we place the blame squarely on what’s going on outside. Surely there must be a fire somewhere, or the smog is lingering longer than usual.
This is despite the fact that we take nine out of every ten breaths indoors, inhaling air that the EPA estimates to be two to five times more polluted than outside air.
Even if you don’t have immediately recognizable health issues, polluted indoor air could be increasing your chances of long-term illness. Damage to the central nervous system, chromosomal issues and even cancer could be skulking around in those dusty vents and moldy filters, waiting years before making a move.
Taking action for cleaner air and better breathing
This all might seem a touch dire, but don’t panic — huge, heaving, panic breaths indoors can only make things worse. With calm, measured breathing, consider two things:
How air enters your home
The air outside is dusty, polluted and pollen-filled, but outside, all of that can be solved with a good gust of wind and a light rain shower. Inside, however, these bad-air bits can collect. The first step to clean air at home is regulating how it all gets inside.
Open doors and windows are obvious culprits — and worth the breeze. When your doors and windows are shut up tight but still letting outside air whistle in around the edges, you’re getting more than just what’s outside; you’re also getting remnants of whatever caused the leak. Whether that’s dust left over from crumbling drywall, spores from a sneaky mold issue or chemicals from decaying insulation, it can make for a bad combination.
Fix it: Weather strip around doors and windows. Still dealing with little leaks? Replacement windows may be in your future. If you’re inclined to smoke, paint things or play with industrial solvents, go outside.
How air circulates in your home
Without the great outdoors to sweep them away, particles sometimes build up. Vents and ducts are full of dust-catching nooks and crannies. Think of filters as sponges: great for cleaning when they’re new, but disease farms when left to collect grime. Now think about breathing through a dirty sponge.
Even you are part of the problem, coming home covered in dust, germs, pollen and pollutants (to say nothing of the hair and skin cells you’re shedding without thinking). And what happens when moist air lingers? In the same way your guest towels start to smell after being on the wall during steamy showers, your carpets, furniture and walls are all slowly collecting colonies of funk.
Fix it: Find a good HVAC and home improvement contractor, and get your home’s insides flushed and cleaned annually. Keep the air moving with ceiling fans or air-cleaning units (and replace those filters in a timely fashion, too). Good, new windows can help you regulate humidity indoors, too, so talk to your contractor.
Breathe easier at home; regulate your air. Your family, friends, pets, their lungs and yours may all be glad you did.
About the Author
Karl Fendelander, a member of the editorial team for Improvement Center, cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and ever since has been plugged into the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends.
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, Questions About Indoor Air Quality? Apr 01, 2002, National Ag Safety Database.
- American Lung Association, How to Purify the Air in Your Home, The Daily Green.
- Jeanie Lerche Davis, Breathe Easy: 5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality, WebMD.
Do you have any tips we can use to purify the air in our homes? I can think of one: use effective air cleaning plants! Different plants can be used to clean different air quality, such as Peace Lilies or English Ivy for smokers and Spider Plants or Philodendrons for those who have carpets.