4.29.2009

indoor and outdoor air quality


Today I received a chart from the American Lung Association in which you can see the outdoor air quality of most cities in the USA, click here to see how your city rates. I think the chart is a little complicated to understand, but you get the idea. But it did also give good indoor tips on bringing up your indoor air quality. Some of them are the following:

1. Avoid cleaning products with ammonia and chlorine –Some household chemicals may be irritants to the respiratory tract in people who are sensitive to these chemicals. They can cause watery eyes and sore throats and even can trigger coughing and shortness of breath. Choose milder yet effective cleaning aids like those that use baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and citrus oils.
2. Houseplants...a clean air ally – Some common indoor houseplants, such as bamboo plants, English ivy and peace lily, can provide a natural way to help fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution by absorbing some potentially harmful gases . A six-inch potted green plant can clean a room of excess carbon dioxide in eight hours .
3. Lay area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting – Wall-to-wall carpeting can attract and hold indoor dirt, pollen, pet hair and mold spores and many contain chemicals. Vacuuming can remove some surface dirt, but often, the vacuum can actually push pollutants deeper into carpet fibers. Area rugs are best since they can be picked up and cleaned thoroughly.
4. Use high performance air filters – Use a high performance filter, like the Filtrete 1” Advanced Allergen Reduction Filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter. Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season.
5. Restrict your furry friends – People who are allergic to cats and dogs are actually allergic to the dander that pets shed. To help minimize exposure to pet dander, keep pets out of the bedroom and especially off the bed.

6. Turn up the air conditioning – Air conditioners not only cool the air in your home, they can also help reduce humidity levels. During the warm months of the year, turn up the air conditioner to help keep humidity levels lower, which can help keep mold from growing.

7. Turn off the humidifier – Room air humidifiers are moisture-generating sources that can spread bacteria, mold spores and chemical deposits into the air in your home. Keep relative humidity between 30% and 50% to help prevent mold growth.

8. Leave shoes outside – Avoid bringing outdoor pollutants indoors by removing your shoes before entering the home. Wearing shoes indoors can track particles that can become airborne, including animal dander, mold spores, pollen and bacteria.

I thought these were really good tips, it took us such a long time to get plants into our house... I suppose it's the lack of my green thumb, but now we have multiple in each room and beautiful and helpful to clean the air.

I don't really agree with the air conditioners, I am really anti-air conditioners and we built our home to ensure good cross ventilation. A couple of years ago when I was visiting my friends in Italy in the summer I noticed how comfortably cool their very old house always was, they had worked with a series of shades on the terraces that really kept the entire house really cool (its also built out of stone which keeps things cool too). So when we got home I used this same technique with our house and it worked perfectly! All you have to do is figure out how the sun moves through your house, closing sades when you need to, we even had cotton blankets hanging from our doors and windows where we had no shades and then taking them down when the sun moved out of target. Our house stayed beautifully cool throughout the day and night it was wonderful and NO air conditioner. If we needed to cut down the humidity we used fans at night to move the air around sufficiently.

I think that if you put your mind to it everyone can figure out how to make their home more comfortable, use less energy and make sure that the air quality is good in your home. But it is important to remember that your indoor air quality can be very poor if you are not careful to keep it clean. In the survey by the American Lung Association that I quoted above to find how the air quality rates in your town they stated the following statistics:

- Three out of four homeowners believe the air outside their home is more polluted than the air inside their home.


-More than 50 percent of homeowners are not concerned about indoor air pollution; however, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) are concerned about outdoor air pollution.


It's important to keep your eye on the ball and stay aware of your indoor air quality health!

If you have more idea please send us a comment so that we can all have healthier homes!

1 comment:

lesley said...

I have also heard items such as furniture and plastic containers leach fumes that create more indoor air pollution. It is best to buy solid wood furniture that has been treated with a wax rather than a stain or varnish.

We have very few plants in our house, now I have more inspiration to have more in our house (and make sure they stay alive!).