The quality of the air that we breathe has a big impact on our health, and with most of our time being spent inside, it’s crucial that we make sure we are breathing high-quality air in our homes. But what is indoor air quality exactly?
Indoor air quality refers to the levels of airborne contaminants, including gases, chemicals and bacteria found in an indoor space. Read on for eight simple steps that you can take to improve indoor air quality in your home.
Why is Indoor Air Quality Important?
Poor indoor air quality can cause health problems that are dangerous for you and your family, like breathing trouble, irritation and illnesses. In the worst cases, long-term ailments can include pneumonia, stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Children, asthmatics and the elderly can be particularly at risk of being affected, so it’s crucial that the air in your home is as clean and healthy as it can be.
How to Check Indoor Air Quality
There are several symptoms that indicate signs of poor indoor air quality:
- Sneezing, coughing and sinus congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Irritation and dryness of the skin, nose, eyes and throat
- Headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue
Because many of these symptoms can be caused by other health conditions, like colds and flu, it can be difficult to determine whether or not they are caused by poor air quality. If symptoms lessen when you leave home for the day, or if they clear up altogether when you go on holiday, it is likely that the symptoms are caused by the air quality within your home.
If you are unsure, either purchase a DIY indoor air quality test kit, or arrange for a professional air quality surveyor to test the levels of contaminants in your home’s air.
What Can Cause Poor Indoor Air Quality?
The following factors can cause poor indoor air quality:
- Chemicals and contaminants caused by things like carbon dioxide, perfume and tobacco smoke.
- Contaminants released by building materials like dust, gases, asbestos and fibreglass
- Dust mites in soft furnishings and fabric like cushions, curtains and rugs
- Mould, fungi and bacteria that can come from damp areas
- Poor ventilation and air circulation
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality Naturally
Follow these seven easy ways to improve indoor air quality and breathe easy again:
- Buy appliances and products that have low chemical emissions.
- Open your windows and doors for at least 10 minutes every day to improve ventilation and air circulation, particularly when cooking, showering, cleaning or drying clothes.
- Make sure your home is a no-smoking zone.
- Vacuum twice a week using a good quality vacuum cleaner with strong suction power. This will minimise the concentration of allergens, dust mites and other toxins.
- After you have vacuumed, dry mop your hard floors with a disposable pad or fabric-based head, like a microfiber. This will collect the smaller particles of dust that your vacuum may have missed.
- If you don’t already have a no-shoes policy at home, why not try implementing one? Alternatively, purchase a large floor mat to put at the front door. This will reduce the amount of dirt and pollutants that are brought into your home.
- Keep mould to a minimum by using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity and use bleach like Domestos Original on tiles and surfaces to remove and prevent mould. For further advice, read our tips on How to Remove Mould from Floors and Carpets.
With this advice, keeping the air quality in your home as good as possible will be much easier!