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For the majority of human beings, almost 90% of their days are spent indoors due to evolving lifestyles. Be it in offices, commercial spaces, or at home. So, indoor air quality has become a key factor and important measure for everyone.
Indoor air pollution is a typical and unavoidable occurrence. However, failing to address and minimize the causes can put your and your loved ones’ health at risk.
Some of the most common problems of indoor air pollution include a dry cough and short breath. In addition, aggravated allergies, itchiness, a runny nose, and lethargy can also occur.
Polluted air hurts everyone, with varying effects, depending on the extent of exposure, the level of contaminants, and the effects are often more severe on people with asthma and other lung complications, leading to faster health deterioration, further complications, and long term harm.
According to the World Health Organization in their most recent publication for 2021, it is estimated that 3.8 million people die from air pollution, specifically indoors.
This number will increase if problems are left untreated and no measures are taken to improve indoor air quality.
Accordingly, this article presents 15 tips and solutions for improving indoor air quality.
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Tips for indoor air quality solutions – Overview
One of the easiest, cheapest, and most direct methods to improve indoor air quality is opening the space windows.
Opening windows allows an exchange of outside fresh air expulsion of indoor air that is stale or contaminated.
Additionally, opening the windows reduces humidity concentrations that typically attract dust mites which are agents for air pollution.
This measure can be counter-intuitive during the winter season, as it expels much-needed warm air to the outside. However, you can tackle it by opening the windows in different areas of the space to allow proper air circulation.
2. Avoid usage of aerosol sprays
Using aerosol sprays hurts indoor air quality as these sprays release harmful chemical compounds.
The chemical particulate matter from aerosol sprays mixes the air we breathe in, leading to a variety of respiratory issues.
It is recommended to use non-aerosol pump sprays instead to maintain a clean indoor environment.
New furniture such as sofas, beds, and chairs can be a culprit in contaminating your indoor air. Fabrics, glues, and paints are key materials used during furniture manufacturing processes.
These elements emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). They react with atmospheric chemicals to create harmful and toxic elements that cause irritation as well as lung damage.
Therefore, it’s essential to clean your new furniture to get rid of trapped air pollutants and to maintain thorough ventilation in the spaces.
4. Invest in an air purifier
Investing in an air purifier is a significant step to maintain a high quality of indoor air. Purifiers are essential to remove particulate matter and to measure the percentage of various gasses present in the air.
Air purifiers are available in various shapes and sizes, with different capabilities and technological services. They are also available in portable versions that are easy to carry.
These machines can offer major benefits if there are asthmatic or allergic people in the space. In fact, they can significantly improve their comfort and health.
A proper ventilation system is an excellent method to maintain a good quality of indoor air.
Poorly ventilated spaces accumulate odors and air pollutants over time. As these concentrations build up, they can become harmful to one’s health.
Good ventilation systems are important to circulate the air, removing indoor air and introducing fresh air to the space.
This ensures a high-quality atmosphere and clean and comfortable air levels within your space.
Attractive colors and eye-catching designs are interesting and can be important for your visitors. However, you should ensure that the dynamic colors and paint materials used in your space do not hurt your health.
Some paints used for decorating your spaces can slowly release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that contaminate the indoor air. It is advisable to target non-scented paints which are low in VOCs.
Additionally, you should make sure that the paint layer does not trap air within the walls, as this can lead to mold growth within the gaps, and molds are significant causes of indoor air degradation.
Cigarette smoking is a major indoor air contaminant that is simple to avoid.
The smoke from cigarettes not only diffuses in the air but also crawls within the beddings, carpets, and furniture.
This can lead to a variety of breathing and health concerns, from irritations, allergies, and coughing to more serious illnesses such as lung damage and cancer.
An easy method to avoid cigarette smoke within your space is by setting a smoking zone outside the building.
Additional restrictive signs such as “NO SMOKING” warnings at the entrance of the premises can also help in keeping our space smoke-free.
It’s not possible to improve your indoor air quality conditions without knowing the level of contamination within your surroundings, and one essential measure for the outdoors is radon testing.
This method determines the levels of radon gas, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, in our surroundings. Higher radon levels can lead to a higher risk of lung cancer, in addition to several other health issues.
That is why it is crucial to carry out radon testing to determine the air quality in your surroundings, to take appropriate actions.
Paraffin Candles and wood stoves are two sources of smoke that can compromise your indoor air quality.
Instead of paraffin candles, it is advisable to use alternative beeswax candles. They are smoke-free and provide a soothing and aromatic indoor environment.
Wood-burning stoves generate higher levels of smoke than car exhaust fumes, and can significantly degrade the indoor air quality within a space.
Electric fires or period-style radiators are much safer alternatives than wood stoves. They do not emit any smoke during the heating process.
If your home or space needs a wood stove at all costs, make sure you open all the windows and doors within the space, to allow sufficient air circulation.
Many products with fragrances such as deodorants can ward off foul smells and provide a pleasant-smelling interior for homes, cars, and offices.
However, many chemically assembled fragrance products can make indoor air quality impure and unsafe for our health, which is why it’s important to reduce the use of chemical fragrances, and substitute them with natural alternatives, to maintain good indoor air quality levels.
Even though they can be costly, natural houseplants are an excellent method to simultaneously decorate and purify indoor spaces.
Research shows that only 10 plants per 1000 square meters of floor area can provide effective air purification, and these plants can maintain high oxygen levels due to their photosynthesis process.
Additionally, plants reduce carbon dioxide and toxicity levels within space, maintaining high oxygen indoor air levels.
High levels of humidity permit the growth of dust mites and mold. This, in turn, can deteriorate your indoor air quality. Hence, it’s important to maintain a balanced humidity level of 30% to 50% in our spaces.
You can accomplish this either by using various types of natural plants or by installing dehumidifiers.
Air circulation is essential for keeping your space comfortable. It ensures sufficient aeration through the services and functions of portable fans and smart ceiling fans.
The fan options allow for proper air circulation at different times of the year. For instance, during winters, you can reverse the ceiling fan operation to reverse the drag. This will keep your space ventilated and warm.
Car exhaust control is essential for homes or other spaces that are attached to garages. Turning on and warming up cars releases exhaust fumes that find their way from the garage to the indoor spaces. This process degrades the air quality severely.
Several methods are available to avoid exhaust fumes from entering your space. For example, ensuring that garage doors are closed, or relocating the garage away from the house or office space. Besides, installing air handlers that maintain high pressure within the garage can help.
This final measure specifically targets pet owners. The fur and dander from pets can worsen your indoor air quality, leading to discomfort, sneezing, breathing issues, and allergies.
To avoid these problems, clean and groom your pet regularly to remove fur and pet dander.
Indoor air quality is directly affected by indoor living conditions and outdoor air conditions.
The methods and measures in this article are essential to reduce and avoid health issues resulting from poor air quality. These ailments can include asthma, allergies, lung problems, dry coughs, and short breath.
Different measures can be more useful for different settings and locations, based on several factors. So, it’s important to maintain overall indoor cleanliness and apply specific methods that can keep a high indoor air quality.