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Improving Your Home’s Air Quality

February 18, 2020

Everyone wants to breathe fresh, clean air inside their home. Beyond just comfort, clean air is important for reducing the chances of developing respiratory conditions such as asthma, and protecting those who already suffer from asthma or other chronic lung conditions like COPD. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to improve your home’s air quality.

What about that air purifier?

An air purifier might be helpful in some situations, but it is far from the magical solution to every potential issue. Additionally, the wrong type of unit could do more harm than good.

A better option is to upgrade your heating and cooling system to help you filter out much of the dust, dander, and other allergens. Consider having a professional HVAC specialist visit your home and suggest the best solution.

You can also consider adding an HEPA filter to your existing HVAC unit.

Cleaning the right way

For those who have asthmatic family members, keeping your home’s air clean is an ongoing challenge. While frequent vacuuming and dusting is important, you should also heed these simple cleaning tips:

  1. Use a wet dusting product or a specially designed duster that will not simply flick dust back around to settle on other surfaces.
  2. Make sure you are cleaning your vacuum cleaner correctly between uses. If it has a bag, change it often. Resist the urge to reuse bags.
  3. If you are upgrading your vacuum, look for one that has a powerful motor and an equally powerful filter, preferably a washable HEPA filter.
  4. Avoid using harmful chemicals, especially in spray form. These chemicals often linger in the air and can trigger serious asthma attacks.
  5. Baking soda, pure vinegar, fresh lemons, and table salt are all great natural substitutes for virtually every cleaning product on the market. Denture tablets do a great job at cleaning the toilet.

Open those windows!

Don’t discount the value of fresh air. Open your windows on bright, sunny days. This applies especially to the kitchen, where cooking odors could linger. The basement is also an area that traps stale, musty air, which can travel up through vents and cause odors and other issues throughout the house. If your basement windows won’t open, it might be time to update and upgrade them to allow fresh air to circulate.

Houseplants are more than just decorative

NASA did a study on the effectiveness of using houseplants to clean the air in the average home. It found that most plants did a fairly thorough job of removing some major toxins from the air we breathe. How many plants are enough to do the job? Roughly 15–18 plants for an 1,800 square foot house are needed according to the study—including at least one plant in every bedroom. Here are some easy-to-grow, low-maintenance plants:

  • Mums – You can keep them in a pot or planter and move them outdoors to grow year after year once their seasonal bloom is over.
  • Spider plants – Forget to water it one week and then overwater the next and the spider plant won’t care—they forgive even the worst neglect. And they grow baby plants that can be transplanted and moved to new locations or given to friends.
  • Dracaena – This plant comes in over 40 types.
  • Ficus – A bit fussier than the others on the list, it can grow up to 10 feet tall.
  • Sansevieria – Otherwise known as the snake plant (also called the mother-in-law’s tongue), Sansevieria is difficult to kill. It enjoys being left to dry out a bit.
  • Aloe vera – This is not only easy to grow and aces at cleaning the air, but aloe vera is also a health-care essential. You can use it to soothe burns and other ailments. Make it a fixture for your kitchen.

As great as houseplants can be, you do need to pay attention to them so that they don’t contribute to your indoor air problem. Check the soil and re-pot them when it appears gray and dry. Remove all dead stems and leaves, spent blooms, or any plants that seem like they’re not going to make it.

Leave shoes by the door

Eliminating dirt before it becomes an airborne nuisance is key to good air quality. One of the easiest ways to lessen the dirt inside is by keeping it outside. A simple solution: remove shoes at the door. Shoes can track dangerous bacteria into a home. Slippers and a bench by the door may help everyone get into the “shoes off” habit.

Contact Sila Heating and Air Conditioning today for more information on optimizing the air quality in your home. We look forward to serving you!