According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Because we spend around 90% of our time indoors, where the air can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as outdoor air, it's important to take steps to reduce the harmful health effects of pollutants like dust mites, mold, chemicals, radon, pet dander and more.
Here are 10 steps you can take to create a healthier indoor environment.
1. Vacuum Carpets and Dust Your Home Every Week
Although they can't be seen with the naked eye, dust mites are common in most homes. Dust mites can aggravate allergies and asthma, leading to respiratory irritation. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is the best way to reduce the number of dust mites in the bedroom and throughout the home.
2. Change Your Furnace Filter Every Month
A dirty furnace air filter not only makes your central heating and cooling system operate less efficiently, it can cause dirt to build build up inside your air ducts, creating an ideal environment for dust mites, mold and mildew.
3. Wash Bedding Every Week In Hot Water
Using a washable dust cover on mattresses can also reduce reduce allergens like dust mites.
4. Ensure that Kitchen and Bathrooms are Well Ventilated
Proper ventilation of cooking fumes and stale, humid air is critical to reducing the growth of mold and mildew.
5. Maintain Humidity Levels Between 30–50%
When the air is too dry in the winter, it can lead to cracked, dry skin and respiratory irritation. If the air is too humid it can lead to harmful mold growth.
If the humidity levels are difficult to control in your home, consider installing a whole house humidifier or dehumidifier that works in conjunction with your home's central heating and cooling system to maintain healthy humidity levels.
6. Test For Radon
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and comes from the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of uranium. Exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. Buy a radon test kit and if the radon levels are unhealthy, take steps to reduce the entry to your home by sealing cracks inside the walls and on floors.
7. Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. In high enough concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause sickness or death. Because it is odorless and colorless, a carbon monoxide detector is needed to know if it is present in the air. Install carbon monoxide alarms near every bedroom and on every level of your home and test them regularly.
8. Let Fresh Air Inside
Whenever possible, increase ventilation by opening windows to let fresh air inside the home.
9. Buy Air Cleaning Houseplants
Years ago NASA conducted study on the effectiveness of different houseplants
in removing harmful chemicals from the air. They found many houseplants are effective at removing chemical pollution. By choosing house plants like Boston Fern and English Ivy, you can reduce chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia in the air.
10. Consider Installing a Whole House Air Filtration System
If someone in the household has allergies or asthma, consider installing a whole home air filtration system. With features like UV light and advanced, multistage filtration, advanced home air cleaners
can remove almost any type of indoor pollution.
11. Have Your Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned
Over time, dust and dirt can build up inside air ducts, providing an ideal environment for dust mites, mold, bacteria and other harmful pollutants to thrive. Regular duct cleaning will ensure that the air blowing through your air ducts is not spreading pollution throughout your home.