Improve Indoor Air Quality for Better Health

Keep your indoor air from further pollution with these tips.

| January/February 2011

  • Photo By Andrea Edwards
  • Letting in a fresh breeze is one of the easiest ways to expel indoor toxins and improve air quality.

From our first squall to our last gasp, we are always breathing. But the essential air we breathe can harbor serious pollutants with both short- and long-term negative health effects. We hear a lot about outside air pollutants, but in fact, federal scientists rank indoor air pollution as one of the most important environmental problems in the United States.

Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. As tightly insulated and sealed buildings become more common, concentration levels of pollutants such as formaldehyde, chloroform and styrene are two to 50 times greater indoors than outdoors. Indoor air pollution can cause eye and throat irritation and headaches in the short term, and respiratory disease and cancer over time. The most sensitive people—children, pregnant women and the elderly, and those with heart and lung disease, asthma and chemical sensitivities—often spend the most time indoors. Understanding and eliminating sources of indoor air pollution can make a big improvement in your home’s overall health.

Keep your indoor air clean and healthy with these simple steps.

1. Control pollution sources. The best way to avoid indoor pollutants is to keep them out of your home in the first place.

• Banish cigarettes and pipes.
• If you have a wood stove or fireplace, clean the flue and vent to the outdoors.
• Wipe your feet on a doormat or, even better, take off your shoes at the entryway.
• Don’t use pesticides on your yard or garden. They can be tracked into your house.
• Use natural, nontoxic cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda and borax.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to venting problems caused by gas-burning appliances.
• Vacuum, mop and dust your home weekly. Wash bedding weekly.
• Replace carpet with washable area rugs and drapes with washable curtains or blinds.
• Use no-VOC paints and sealers. Avoid plywood or particleboard with added urea-formaldehyde or seal with a nontoxic sealer to prevent offgassing.
• Never leave your car, lawn mower or other fuel-burning appliance running in an attached garage.
2. Bring in fresh outside air with natural and mechanical ventilation. When the weather is fair, opening windows and doors throughout the house helps remove pollutants and moisture. High moisture levels in your home, especially in warm areas, can lead to mold and mildew. Interior humidity levels should be 30 to 50 percent.

• Use exhaust fans with outside vents and open windows while bathing and cooking. 
• Direct gutters and downspouts away from the house.
• If you live in a tight house in an extreme climate, consider installing a heat/energy recovery ventilator (HRV or ERV) for a constant supply of fresh air without excessive energy use.
3. Clean the air. The most effective air filters use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters similar to, but finer than, standard furnace filters. Install them in the ducts of the central heating and air-conditioning system or use portable filters with fans.

Matt Ringer
1/8/2013 4:11:44 PM

The effects of poor indoor air quality include, throat, nose, and eye irritations, respiratory infections, sinus problems, headaches, asthma, allergies. Through the use of Nano ionic technology, far-infrared rays and a special manufacturing process, a natural (non manufactured) paint additive has been developed that improves indoor air quality and permanently removes odors caused by smoking, pets and bacterial proliferation. Air-ReNu is a safe, effective and permanent solution. Air-ReNu continues to work 7/24/365, eliminating odors and maintaining clean, healthy indoor air.

Mary Goodson
12/28/2012 12:46:43 AM

No worries at MY house... the dogs and cats come and go all day, so our doors get opened and the fresh air pours in every 15 minutes. LOL

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