5 ways to improve indoor air quality in your home
By Tom Bosna
B Sci (Phys), IWBI WELL Building Advisory Panel
From pollution hanging over cities, to allergens inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to human health and the climate.
With the evolution of hybrid and remote working across the globe, it is an important time to be more aware of the different strategies that individuals can use to improve indoor air quality.
After all, we spend 90% of our lives indoors and ⅓ of our lives at work. If you blend your work and home life together - there is no better time to consider the important question - How can I optimise my physical environment for better health?
Air Pollutants in the home can range from contaminants brought in from the outdoors, to those within the materials of our homes. Older homes may contain asbestos and lead particles which can be damaging to the lungs when released into the air. In areas of the house such as bathrooms and kitchens, mould and mildew can become an irritant where moisture levels are typically higher than the rest of the house.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature. Many common household materials and products, such as paints and cleaning products, give off VOCs. Common VOCs include acetone, benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, toluene and xylene. Different VOCs have different health effects, and range from those that are highly toxic to those with no known health effect. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems.
Despite the risks of air pollutants and VOCs around the house, there are five key strategies that can be used to improve air quality in your home.
No matter where you live in the world, air conditioning or split systems are working to keep your indoor temperature consistent all year. As the systems work hard to filter out some of the common air pollutants eventually the filters fill up and stop doing their job.
It is recommended that air conditioners are serviced annually to change filters - especially if living in a metropolitan area with high levels of pollution or are allergy prone.
5. What about other filters
Your AC filter isn’t the only thing working to keep the air clean in your home environment. If you really want to improve the air quality in your home, be sure to check the filters in your other household appliances. Your vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer and kitchen vents should all be inspected and maintained periodically. It’s recommended to clean or replace these common household filters every few months.