According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adults typically breathe around 3,000 gallons of air per day. Unfortunately, the air isn't clean; oftentimes it's even toxic. The EPA reports that levels of air pollutants are often as much as two to five times higher indoors, which is concerning because the average person spends more than 90 percent of their time inside. Air pollution is a problem for everyone. Luckily, there are several ways to improve the air quality of your home.
Ways to boost air quality in your home
It doesn't have to cost a fortune or take a great deal of time to improve the air in your home.
Plants: NASA scientists have studied the effect of indoor plants on air quality for years. They've found plants capable of removing toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene, and ammonia – all of which can lead to serious health conditions. Indoor plants are inexpensive and easy to care for. Yes, even for those of you with a brown thumb, there are air purifying plants you can grow! The average indoor plant ranges in price from $8 to $20 depending on size.
- Snake plant: this hardy plant grows with minimal care in both high light and low light environments. Snake plants only need water once per week.
- English ivy: a partial-sun plant, English ivy is also low-maintenance, only requiring a once weekly watering. Tip: place the ivy in front of a lattice on a blank wall and it will begin to grow up.
- Red-edged dracaena: if you have a bright space, this plant will be perfect for you. It requires direct sunlight and water weekly.
Air purifiers: Look for a unit that offers HEPA filtration (high-efficiency particulate air), which will catch even those smallest particles. You can choose between having portable room purifiers, or using a specialized filter in your A/C system. Room purifiers range in price from $50 to $850 and are easy to install and maintain. Filters range in price from $20 to $80 each. Most filters come in a range of standard sizes and should be replaced every one to three months.
No smoking indoors: Smoking inside can greatly decrease the air quality of your home. Secondhand smoke is among the worst of all air pollutants and can be extremely harmful to everyone in the home, especially children. Deciding not to smoke indoors is FREE and will improve your home's air quality by leaps and bounds.
Doormats: Believe it or not, placing a doormat outside all of the entrances to your home can reduce dust and other pollutants that are often trailed in on your shoes. The price of doormats ranges from $5 to $25.
Cut harsh cleaners and fragrances: Ammonia, bleach, paint and other household cleaners and products contribute to poor indoor air quality. Fragrances from candles or room sprays can contain harmful chemicals that pollute clean air. Consider using vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils instead to boost your home's air quality. Low VOC paint is better for indoor air quality and can be found at most local hardware stores.
Indoor air quality isn't something home owners should take lightly. It doesn't take a great deal of money, time or effort to enhance a home's air quality. However, doing so can greatly impact your health and help you breathe just a little easier.