Dealing With Indoor Air Pollution

We all worry about pollution outdoors, but poor air quality in our homes and offices has as much of an impact on our health, if not more.

There are, however, several things you can do to improve the quality of the air you breathe when indoors.

First, avoid chemical air fresheners. While they may smell nice, you’re just adding an additional source of chemicals to the air you breathe.

If the air does not smell good, address and remove the source of the odor, rather than just trying to cover up the air. For a natural air freshener, try placing an open box or bowl of baking soda in a room, or using oil diffusers.

Second, do not think that plants can clean the air for you. Damp soil can harbor a number of different organisms including mold, and plants can harbor dust as well as being hard to clean.

If you are dealing primarily with an air-borne problem, like dust, smoke or pollen, consider using a HEPA filter based air cleaning system.

To make it easy to compare systems, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers gives each model a clean air delivery rating, or CADR. The CADR will also tell you which pollutants the system is better at removing; look for a system that deals most effectively with your problem.

The filter for your home air conditioning and heating system should be regularly replaced, and you should be using HEPA filters there as well. These are no substitute, however, for keeping pollutants out of your home.

For example, do not allow people to smoke in your home, and keep the windows closed when pollen is a problem. Keeping your house clean will also reduce potential irritants.

To keep your house clean, choose a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. Use dusting and sweeping products designed to trap dust, not just move it around. Be sure to use the overhead vent when you are cooking, especially if you have a gas stove.

If you have area rugs, they should be regularly cleaned, as they can harbor dust and other irritants. If you have serious breathing issues, it is best to avoid carpeting of any time all together.

Finally, do not assume that if you have someone in your household with pet allergies that you can just keep a pet in a separate room. The same air flows throughout your house, and no air cleaner can remove all potential irritants.