When you think about air pollution, images of factories and smokestacks come to mind. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, we should be thinking about our homes. Indoor air pollution can be just as bad or worse than outside. In addition, poor indoor air quality can trigger asthma and other health problems. Here are some tips to help make your home a healthy place to breathe:
1. Let fresh air in
Keep windows open as much as possible. During colder months, opening a window for even a few minutes can improve air quality.
2. Add some plants
Plants not only absorb CO2 and release oxygen, they also rid the air of pollutants commonly found indoors from our carpeting, paints and cleaning products.
3. Stop using scented candles
Air fresheners and most scented candles emit chemicals into the air. Instead, make your own air freshener. Just combine water, lemon slices and rosemary in a small pot and let simmer.
4. Replace filters
Most people forget to replace their furnace and air conditioner filters, but they need to be changed yearly. Also, vacuum cleaner filters should be frequently cleaned or replaced.
5. Tackle the dust
Vacuum and dust your home once a week. Make sure to get under the couches and beds and shake out or wash curtains.
6. Monitor humidity levels
Too much moisture can cause mold to grow, and too little makes the air too dry. You can buy a gauge at the hardware store to measure humidity levels. Ideally, your home should be at 45% humidity. To increase humidity, use a humidifier. To decrease humidity, open a window or use a dehumidifier.
7. Make your home smoke free
Secondhand smoke is very harmful to children and adults. The only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking in your home and car. Opening windows or using air filters does not help.
Renters’ rights to clean air
If you’re renting your home, your landlord must provide a safe place for you to live. That includes making sure that the air quality is healthy. If you notice mold from leaky pipes, damp basements, etc., tell your landlord right away. If your landlord refuses to address the problem, report it.
Asthma? See your doctor
If you have shortness of breath or a wheezing sound when you breathe, you might have asthma. ACCESS can help. Make an appointment today.
Environmental Protection Agency
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America