While we often become concerned about the air quality outdoors, it's easy to forget that our homes have their own miniature atmospheres. With walls, doors and windows, that atmosphere is a mostly closed space, so what's inside tends to stay inside. Unless you're okay with breathing in stale, recycled air, there's no excuse not to improve your home's air quality, whether as part of a green initiative or for the health of you and your family.
If you're looking to clean up your personal atmosphere, take these suggestions into account.
1. Use radiant heat instead of central heat. Central heating systems use ducts throughout your home to pump in gusts of hot air. Along with that air comes the dust that has settled in the ducts for at least two or three seasons. Instead of flushing your home with dirty air, consider radiant heat technologies. Radiant floor heating, for instance, can fit comfortably under any floor type and warms you from the ground up. It's eco-friendly, easy to install in any room and won't send a layer of months-old dust through the air.
2. Reduce humidity and allergens. Humidity aids the growth of mold and mildew, which is why these two offenders show up so often in bathrooms. While summertime is the worst for these two major allergens, small steps, like running a bathroom fan or opening a window in the kitchen, can help reduce their presence.
3. Use natural cleaning products. Cleaning products packed full of obscure chemicals end up filling your home's air with those same chemicals. Using natural products makes for a healthier and more breathable environment. The same goes for air fresheners - when your home smells stale, go for a natural option, like potpourri or organic scented candles.
4. Use organic paints. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that paints and lacquers can sometimes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful to air quality. Keep an eye out for these when you're purchasing paint for a project.
5. Clean your home and keep it clean. Dust, mop, sweep and vacuum. Keeping your home generally clean will help reduce its pollution, especially with some good airflow. One last rule of a clean home - no smoking. Everything harmful about a home's poor air quality is summed up perfectly in cigarette and cigar smoke.