During the winter months, it’s natural to want to spend most of your time indoors. But did you know that the average person spends 90 percent of their time indoors year-round? And while your home may be your haven, all that time inside can actually expose you to a lot of harmful indoor air pollution.
The most common indoor pollutants include smoke, chemicals from household cleaners, and even lethal pollutants such as carbon monoxide or asbestos.
Thankfully, there are many ways to improve indoor air quality and rid your home of air pollution. In fact, there are several eco-friendly materials that can help improve air quality without running up your monthly energy bills!
Here are a few tips for improving your home’s indoor air quality:
Reduce cigarette smoke
Experts say cigarette smoke is the most common indoor air pollutant. Not only can second-hand smoke cause long-lasting and fatal ailments, but third-hand smoke (which clings to surfaces even after the cigarette is out) can also cause harm. If you choose to smoke, it is best to do it outside, where it will not harm the health of those around you.
Check your paint label
Many brands of paint contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which act as a solvent or thinner and improve drying time. However, VOCs produce harmful gasses and can lead to contaminants in your indoor air supply. The good news – almost every major paint brand offers no-VOC options.
Reduce pollutants in your carpet
Many types of flooring also contain VOCs. According to the EPA, interior flooring tends to contain dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores and pesticides. Before buying carpet, check to see if it has the stamp of approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Indoor Air Quality designation. You should also try to take your shoes off before walking on indoor carpet to avoid tracking in pollutants from outside.
Or you can opt for hardwood flooring instead
Another way to avoid pollutants trapped in carpeting is to avoid carpet altogether. Hardwood floors are much easier to clean and less likely to trap indoor air pollutants. You can find hardwood flooring options at any major home improvement store, and these stores usually offer a range of pricing options.
Read the labels on your household cleaners
Common household cleaners can also affect the air quality in your home. Cleaning supplies tend to give off harsh fumes that can irritate those with sensitive lungs, airways, and skin. Read the labels on your household cleaners to avoid harmful chemicals (for a list of ingredients to avoid, click here) and opt for natural cleaning products.
Focus on the quality of your air
Aside from the tips above, you can also do more to improve the quality of air in your home. Keep the air circulating by opening windows occasionally, installing ceiling fans, and using a dehumidifier. You should also give your HVAC system some love. Don’t forget to change the air filter in your HVAC at least once every three months.
With a little extra effort, you can reduce indoor air pollution in your home and improve your overall health. And as an added bonus, these tips won’t run up your monthly power bill. That’s a win-win if we’ve ever seen one!