Indoor air quality has always been important, but has also recently become a “hot-topic” due to COVID-19. An abundance of scientific research shows that the air within homes and businesses can be more polluted than that which you would find within a large industrialized city. Indoor air quality becomes even more important when you consider the fact that the majority of people spend all day indoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that indoor air pollutants may be up to 100 times higher than levels of outdoor pollutants and are ranked among the top 5 environmental threats to human health.
You may be wondering what causes poor indoor air quality. Often, poor indoor air quality results from inadequate ventilation, pollutant sources found within the home (for example, building materials, paint, varnishes, sealants, off-gassing from furniture, carpets, wood products, household cleaning products, personal care products, and fragrance), as well as pollutant sources found outside the home (for example, pesticides, radon, and outdoor air pollution). If your home is not well ventilated then these pollutants can accumulate to unhealthy levels.
Research shows that irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as headaches, fatigue, and dizziness are often linked to poor air quality. Additionally, it’s important to realize that the negative health effects from poor indoor air quality may not show up until years after the exposure.
You may be wondering what steps you can take as a homeowner or business owner to improve the indoor air quality. Today we will be covering 4 easy ways to improve your indoor air quality.
- Focus on Improving Ventilation
The first and likely the easiest change that you can make to improve your indoor air quality is by increasing the ventilation in your home. Simply opening your windows and doors when the weather permits can significantly help your indoor air quality. Also, often bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans help remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and can help increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.
Consider also that activities such as painting, cooking, welding, and sanding can generate significant pollutants. If possible, complete these activities outdoors or open the windows and doors in your home while engaging in these activities.
- Change your Air Filters Regularly
Secondly, making sure your HVAC air filters are refreshed regularly will help with your indoor air quality. Over time, your HVAC system’s air filters will become clogged with dust, dirt, and other particles found in the air. We recommend checking your air filter on a monthly basis. In addition to helping keep your air clean, replacing your air filter will also provide the added benefit of energy efficiency. Meaning, replacing a dirty air filter with a clean air filter will result in your HVAC system being able to work more easily and more efficiently. Also, keep in mind that if animals live in your home, your air filters will need to be changed more frequently.
- Freshen your Air with House Plants
Having indoor plants can help scrub your air clean! Some scientists say that houseplants are effective natural air purifiers.
According to scientist Bill Wolverton, the bigger the plant leaf, the better. Mr. Wolverton stated that the “amount of leaf surface area influences the rate of purification.” This scientist recommends individuals have two plants per 100 square feet of indoor space. If cleaning your air isn’t enough incentive to add some pretty houseplants to your home, the research also shows that plants can help with stress reduction because spending time around nature has a overall positive effect on an individual’s energy and mood. Country Living published the 10 best air purifying plants for the home as the following: Barberton Daisy, English Ivy, Snake Plant (also called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue), Chrysanthemum, Spider Plant, Aloe Vera, Broad Lady Palm, Red-Edged Dracaena, Weeping Fig, and Chinese Evergreen.
- Have a Whole Home Air Purifier Installed
Many individuals are adding air purifiers to their heating and cooling systems to encourage healthy air in their home. While there are many air cleaners on the market, we recommend an in-duct whole home air purifier. A properly selected air purification system for your home will continuously clean and protect the air (and surfaces) 24 hours a day.
Two of the most popular air purification systems are the Reme Halo (“Halo”) and the Air Scrubber by Aerus (“Air Scrubber”). These air purifiers are designed to eliminate particulates, air pollutants, chemical odors (also called VOCs), smoke, mold bacteria, and viruses. Notably, Kansas State University conducted a study with the Halo that showed the Halo kills 99% of the germs from a sneeze within three feet, as well as 99% of viruses found on hard surfaces. The Air Scrubber and Halo are the caliber of air purifiers that hospitals, schools, and NASA are using.
You’d likely be surprised to know just how affordable these air purification systems are for the average homeowner and business owner. At Larry Cook Heating and Cooling, we offer free estimates. We would be happy to come to your home or business to provide our best recommendation to improve the indoor air quality of your space. Contact us today by calling 316-322-5668!
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