Indoor air pollution can include dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, cooking gases, chemicals, combustion by-products, and other contaminants. Their effects not only include discomfort. They can range from coughing, sore throat, and headaches to chronic asthma and other medical conditions. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to clean the air in your home.
1. Increase Ventilation
Opening a window for a few minutes can allow harmful air pollutants to filter out, especially while you’re cleaning. However, it’s not ideal. There can be emissions from cars, industry, and other sources. And, while today’s homes are well-sealed, this can hold in indoor pollutants, making ventilation all that more important.
Bath fans, range hoods, and other fan-based ventilation systems can remove bad air. But the supply of makeup air is restricted. This can concentrate pollutants and cause back drafting of contaminants. An energy recovery ventilator balances the amount of air going in and out, delivers fresh air into your home, and conditions it to the temperature/humidity of indoor air.
2. Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
Store-bought household cleaners often contain harsh chemicals. These can be very irritating. As an alternative, you can use green cleaning products or make your own using baking soda, vinegar, citrus juice, or essential oils.
Cleaning products aren’t the only source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Paints, glues, construction materials, fabrics, and new furniture can release VOCs into the air as well. Ventilating furniture in the garage or opening a window can help off-gas some of the toxins.
3. Use a Higher-Temperature Cooking Oil
Use extra virgin olive oil instead of canola, sunflower, avocado, or corn oil. It smokes at a higher temperature so is less likely to fill your kitchen with smoke and leave behind a burnt oil smell throughout your home. Light olive oil is a good alternative as well. If you have a gas stove, make sure it’s well-maintained and ventilated (nitrogen dioxide can be highly irritating), or consider a future upgrade to an electric unit.
4. Maintain Your Home
Regular cleaning and dusting help improve indoor air quality. Here are some other things you can do to clean the air in your house:
- Clean up mold or hire a professional to do so; spores can trigger a range of symptoms.
- Groom your pets and brush them outdoors to reduce dander.
- Take off your shoes when you go inside (they can contain bacteria, pollen, feces, pesticides, and other hazardous things).
- Add essential oils to homemade cleaners; they have antibacterial properties.
- Install an air purifier to clean out irritating and harmful particulates.
5. Keep Pollutants Out of Your Home
Taking steps to reduce pollutants can improve and maintain indoor air quality. Effective measures include:
- Not allowing anyone to smoke indoors.
- Keeping humidity below 50%.
- Promptly fixing any water leaks/drips.
- Testing for radon and fixing any issues found.
- Covering trash and storing food in airtight containers to avoid pests.
- Avoiding the burning of wood/wood products, which can add pollution.
- Addressing odors directly; don’t hide them with fragrances or scented candles.
6. Install a High-Efficiency Air Filter
Installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your HVAC system will clean the air throughout your home. However, a stand-alone HEPA air cleaner can be used for a single room. Standard filters are not usually effective at removing the smallest particles, which tend to be the most irritating.
7. Use Your Air Conditioner
Your central air conditioning system has a filter that lets it provide whole-house air filtration. Changing the filter regularly ensures the AC can do its job and also protects the system. Better yet, all you need to do to clean the air is run the AC.
Contact Air Stars
Trusted for air quality services in Portland, Air Stars can provide high-quality air filters, air purifiers, and other solutions. We also provide duct sealing and insulation services to improve comfort and efficiency. Our team specializes in energy recovery ventilation systems as well, and installs, repairs, and maintains ACs, furnaces, and heat pumps. To schedule service or learn about our special offers and financing options, book a visit online or call 503-832-4438.