Similar to outdoor air that can be polluted by open burning, pollen and other pollutants, the air within a building or indoor air can have varying levels of quality. Since Australians spend more than 90% of their time indoors, having good indoor air quality (IAQ) is important to ensure the air we breathe indoors is clean, promising better health and, ultimately, a better quality of life.
Indoor air quality includes the air’s composition, temperature and humidity. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health issues ranging from headaches and allergies to more severe conditions like asthma and respiratory infections. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has reported that indoor air may sometimes be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
Here are six ways to improve indoor air quality in your home and start living better with cleaner and healthier air.
Identify sources of indoor air pollution
Before being able to solve indoor air quality issues in your home or working space, it’s important to first identify the source of indoor air pollution. Identifying sources of indoor air pollution can be tricky but here are some common telltales to spot sources of indoor air pollution below.
Check for moisture or mould
Stains and discolouration on walls or ceilings, along with the growth of mould, are signs of water damage. Areas including bathrooms and kitchens are susceptible to the growth of mould as a result of water damage as they are usually more exposed to water and may not have as much ventilation as a living room. Mould spreads through the release of tiny spores that cause allergic reactions and can trigger asthma attacks when inhaled.
Identify potential combustion sources
Gas stoves, fireplaces and certain heaters can release harmful pollutants into the air, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If these appliances are to be operated within the household, ensure adequate ventilation is available to ensure VOC particles don’t stay within the building.
Look for signs of poor ventilation
This could perhaps be the leading cause of poor IAQ; poor ventilation leads to a build-up of pollutants. Signs of poor ventilation in your home include stuffy air, lingering odours or visible moisture on windows.
Identify potential sources of VOCs
VOCs are a group of chemicals found in many products, including paint, cleaning agents, adhesives and even furniture. Air quality monitors or tests usually identify them. Some products containing VOCs give off a distinct odour, such as the smell of paint. Prolonged exposure to VOCs can lead to health issues.
Test the air quality
If you’re still unsure about the sources of indoor air pollution, consider hiring a professional to test the air quality in your living space. This can help to specify the pollutants and their sources, allowing you to make educated decisions on the next best step.
Six ways to improve indoor air quality
Once the source of indoor air pollution has been identified, you’ll now be able to intelligently employ the six steps below to nip the problem in the bud and keep the air you breathe clean.
Having adequate ventilation is perhaps the most important step in removing pollutants from indoor air. Opening up windows or doors will bring in fresh outdoor air while eliminating polluted indoor air. Ventilation helps decrease the concentration of pollutants and potentially harmful gasses. This is particularly important in enclosed spaces where air pollutants build up to higher concentrations.
Choose VOC-free products
Choosing products and materials with low levels of VOCs and other pollutants can go a long way. Since cleaning agents, furniture and other household items that usually have VOCs are unavoidable, opting for products with low-VOC or VOC-free will do wonders to reduce exposure to these pollutants on a daily basis.
Regular sweeping, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces will get rid of dust and reduce the build up of other allergens and pollutants in your home. Dust mites are common allergens found in bedding, rugs and other household items. Regularly cleaning these items can eliminate them from your home.
A build up of moisture can lead to the growth of mould and other pollutants. By promptly plugging up leaks, cleaning up water spills and ensuring proper ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens, moisture within your home can be controlled, reducing the chances of moisture issues. Prolonged moisture issues can not only breed mould and mildew but can also create favourable environments for insects and other pests
Ionmax dehumidifiers are able to eliminate up to 50 litres of moisture a day from ambient air, leaving your home free from excess moisture and effectively eliminating moisture issues.
Use air purifiers
Ionmax air purifiers are equipped with multi-layer filtration systems that can include HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, titanium dioxide filters, negative ionisers and even UV-C lamps to inactivate viruses and bacteria trapped within the filters. Ionmax air purifiers have been proven to reduce viral infectivity by 99.97% and can cover spaces of up to 260 square metres.
Have house plants
Indoor plants like spider plants and peace lilies are also known as natural air purifiers because they can naturally purify the air by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen instead. A study by NASA found that indoor plants can also scrub the air of VOCs. Plants are also known to release negative ions, similar to many Ionmax air purifiers.
By following these tips and taking a proactive approach to improving indoor air quality, you will be able to create a healthier and more comfortable living space for you and your loved ones.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.