It's important to keep clean air circulating through your home, particularly when it's too cold or too hot to open the windows and let in fresh air. The key to air quality in the home is making a few small but effective changes. Here are some tips to help you welcome healthy, fresh air into your home.
1. Indoor plants make the best air purifiers
One simple way to immediately impact air quality is to add some air purifying plants to your space. Studies by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America have found that some plants are capable of filtering out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are byproducts of chemical-based cleaners. Which plants do this? Try aloe vera. As a succulent, it's easy to maintain — plus it's good to have on hand in case of a sunburn. Spider plants (or airline plants) are another great choice. Bonus—they're hard to kill, so even homeowners without a green thumb can take advantage of their purifying properties.
2. Replace air filters for cleaner home air
At the start of the heating season, it's a good idea to replace your furnace air filter. Do the same for your air conditioning filter at the start of the cooling season. While dirty air filters can actually more effectively capture and remove air contaminants, less air gets through them and they may grow mold over time, which can poorly affect your family's health. American Home Shield offers the discount filter program that gives you access to brand name filters for great prices—delivered to your door.
If you're stuck on figuring out how to replace your air filters for cleaner home air, here's a video that details "How to change your air filters."
Kitchen hoods and vents above your range (electric or gas ovens) also have filters that collect grease and smoke rising from your food. If you have a built-in microwave above your stove, you'll find a grease filter underneath. These should be cleaned or replaced periodically to keep the fan running efficiently and the air you breathe that much fresher.
In order to keep the air in your home crisp and clean practice cleaning your grease filter above your stove. It will be like a breath of fresh air.
3. Invest in a quality air purifier
When buying an air purifier, make sure it has the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers' (AHAM) seal of approval. If you have allergies, you'll also want to find a model that features a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which is proven to eliminate 99.97 percent of common airborne allergens like dust mites, pollen, ragweed, mold spores and pet dander. You can even buy vacuums with HEPA filters, which eliminate even more allergens stuck in your carpet.
4. Use essential oils or an electric scent diffuser
Commercial air fresheners can contain harmful pollutants, so if you want to create a more vibrant, fresh air atmosphere in your home, stick with a diffuser. Diffusers break essential oils down into micro-molecules and project them into the air, improving its quality and freshening the room. Many natural living advocates believe that essential oils can help with relaxation and sleep, mood elevation, illness prevention, pain relief and cognitive function. Regardless of what you believe about their internal benefits, essential oils can help ward off insects and are much safer than candles or incense, especially if you have children or pets.
5. Be smart about renovations
When renovating your home, consider that hard surface floors are easier than carpet to clean and reduce trapped dirt and pet dander. You can also avoid toxins by using formaldehyde-free cabinetry in your kitchen and bathrooms. In the living room and bedroom, decorate with blinds instead of curtains to attract less dust. As far as appliances are concerned, if you choose to install a gas cooking range, ensure that you also invest in an exhaust fan to remove gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Make sure the vent leads outside and not just back into the room.
Whether through appliances, essential oils, an air filter, air cleaners or even just a houseplant, there are plenty of ways to make your indoor air cleaner and healthier for your family.
Bonus Tips for Cleaner Air
Keep a large floor mat at all major entrances to your home and encourage your family and friends to remove their shoes at the doorway. Both steps significantly reduce door the amount of dirt, pesticides and other pollutants that make their way into your home. Keeping your air fresh and clean doesn't have to be expensive. If you're strategic about improving your home's air quality, your family's health will benefit!