Most times energy efficiency is more important then indoor air quality. It is just as important if you want your air conditioning, space heating and ventilation to reach it’s peak efficiency. Making indoor air quality better will make your home more comfortable. Breathing less air pollutants saves you time and money, at the doctor long term. Here are some easy ways to maximize your indoor air quality, which are easy to get started.
Wash New Clothes and Leave Your Dry-Cleaning Outside
Even though dry-cleaning is very easy on our schedule, many of the things used in the process are filled with volatile organic compounds. When you bring dry-cleaned clothes back home, leave them outside for a few hours to limit the amount of VOC’s in your home.
New clothes also are full of harmful chemicals from the manufacturer, and should be cleaned before being worn for the first time. Otherwise, you will be breathing a huge amount of these poisonous compounds the first time you wear them. Put your new clothes in the washing machine even if they will not be able to be worn immediately. This will not allow those VOC’s to break into your home.
Change your Furnace Filter Often
Seems like a no brainer right? Well a lot of people forget this basic indoor air quality fix in their home. Just like the oil in your car or the water filter on your sink, the furnace filter in your AC must be changed as well.
Not only does it protect your AC unit from damage, but if you choose the right MERV rating on your filter, you can also improve your indoor air quality.
Have Some Indoor Plants
Simple indoor plants can make all the difference to your indoor air quality. Some plants that scientists have found most useful in removing VOCs include Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, Boston ferns, purple waffle plants, English ivy, areca palms, golden pothos, aloe vera, snake plants and peace lilies.
Some pollutants are metabolized into harmless or even beneficial substances. According to the Canadian Journal of Botany, plants can absorb carbon monoxide (CO) from the air in urban settings. First they convert it to carbon dioxide (CO2) through oxidation, and then they use CO2 for photosynthesis, producing oxygen. Plants can also metabolize benzene (C6H6), decomposing it into carbon dioxide and water.
Keep Your Windows And Doors Open
Some people think this isn’t a good idea if you live in an urban area, but believe it or not, the air outside is cleaner most of the time. Most of the time, outdoor air is 2 to 5 times cleaner then indoor air.
Make sure your home is properly ventilated, so that air pollutant concentrations are unable to grow. Keep in mind, there will be times when you will want to keep the windows closed:
-Even though outdoor air is less polluted on average, there are periods of maximum pollution, especially during high-traffic hours on hot summer days.
– Plants can emit large amounts of pollen during the spring, and pollen is an air pollutant when found in the home, which can cause allergic reactions and irritation in some people. Keep the windows closed if there is a high level of pollen outdoors.
Foobot can compare outdoor and indoor air quality, displaying the result on your smartphone app. You can open the windows freely as long as outdoor air quality is superior.
Stay Away from Artificial Fragrences
Volatile organic compounds can fool you. Even though they have a pleasant smell, they can have negative effect on your health. Because of the smell they are used in many cleaning products and artificial fragrances. Aromatic candles are even worse for indoor air quality, since they emit VOC’s and sometimes particulate matter. Generally speaking, anything with an open flame and without ventilation is negative when it comes to indoor air quality.
We recommend using natural aromatic plants, which can also capture as well as filter out many air pollutants. There is research by NASA proving that indoor plants can reduce the concentration of VOC’s such as ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene.
Monitor Your Air Quality
It’s easier to save energy when you’re aware of how much you are consuming. You are more likely to stay fit when you keep track of your weight. The same concept applies for indoor air quality. You will tend to be more proactive with if you are aware of the pollutants presence in your home, as well as their location and concentrations.
Foobot is a versatile monitoring system, capable of directly measuring two of the common types of air pollutants found in modern indoor spaces: volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. Foobot also measures humidity: it is not a pollutant by itself, but it stimulates the growth of bacteria, mold and dust mites when its leve is too high. Ideally, relative humidity should be kept below 60% and above 30%.
You can achieve better results with multiple air quality monitors. Since you can pinpoint the source of pollutants more easily by observing which monitor displays the highest value.
Indoor air quality can be confusing, and that is why a monitoring system is highly recommended. To improve IAQ, make sure your house receives plenty of fresh outdoor air. Remove indoor sources of air pollutants whenever possible. Do not trust your sense of smell when dealing with air pollutants, since some of them actually have a pleasant smell.