Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) can be difficult, especially since there are so many factors - both from within and outside the home - that contribute to the problem.
We recently completed a poll that asked homeowners what they currently do to improve the air quality in their homes. The respondents (N=504) were able to select multiples (or none) to indicate how they currently try to clean their air.
We were surprised with how many people (nearly 33%!) were using air fresheners to improve air quality. Unfortunately, air fresheners just cover up the problem instead of fixing it - it even contributes to the problem in some cases.
Fortunately, there are many tried and true methods of improving IAQ. We've summarized them for you here:
Increase ventilation - This is the single most important thing you can do to improve your IAQ. Opening the windows often helps, but not if there is a lot of pollen, wildfire smoke, or other outdoor pollutants. Your central system has the capacity to cycle all of the air in your home 3-10 times per hour and pushing it through the filter. If you have HAVEN, the Central Air Controller will make sure this happens, even without heating or cooling!
Replace filters - Whether you have portable air purifiers or a central air system, you need to replace their filters at the appropriate time. With HAVEN, we remove the guesswork for you by keeping track of your filters' lifecycle!
Improve cooking habits - Always turn on the exhaust fan while cooking, and consider using cooking oils with a higher smoke point (eg. refined avocado oil, which has a smoke point of 520ºF). Oil with a low smoke point will burn and smoke at a lower temperature, which can cause poor air quality for hours after cooking.
Clean regularly - Regular dusting and vacuuming (with an appropriate vacuum filter) will keep the dust down. Washing the sheets, drapes, and other large fabric surfaces every week will get rid of allergens and dust mites. Also, be sure to use natural cleaners to avoid being exposed to harmful chemicals.
Keep the humidity in check - High humidity levels can cause mold to grow, while low humidity can cause paint to chip, wood to crack, and exacerbate respiratory illnesses. Keeping the humidity around 45% (or between 30-60%) is ideal.
Remove contaminants - Many people have containers of half-used chemical products, such as paints, cleaners, automotive products, and other substances. Even if you think the containers are sealed properly, harmful chemicals can still off-gas into the surrounding air. Storing these in the garage or shed will ensure that your indoor air isn't being affected.
- Speak to your HVAC contractor about installing a HAVEN Central Air Monitor - If you are interested in monitoring your IAQ, perhaps it is time to connect with your trusted HVAC contractor about HAVEN.
But what about house plants? Can they improve indoor air quality?
Many people believe that certain house plants can improve air quality. While plants do absorb harmful chemicals and release oxygen, there is often not enough light in the home for photosynthesis to occur. In addition, you would need a fairly high number of plants to see any substantial change to your indoor air quality - some studies suggest needing at least 10 plants per meter squared to see a difference!