Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Breathe Better at Home

(StatePoint) With more of life centered at home due to cool weather and social distancing, it’s time to ensure the space where your family spends the majority of its time is healthy and safe.

What many people don’t know is that concentrations of air pollutants can typically be up to five times higher inside one’s home than out, and sometimes far more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, there are many simple actions you can take to breathe better in your home:

• Monitor carbon monoxide: This potentially deadly gas can be emitted by a faulty gas-burning home appliance. Monitor for carbon monoxide using detectors placed in major areas of the home, especially the bedrooms.

• Make the switch to VOC-free: Most paints and stains, along with aerosol sprays, air fresheners and other household products, contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which emit gases that can result in respiratory problems, headaches and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, among other health problems. Take a cue from forward-thinking institutions like the Getty Museum and Google and swap out conventional paints in your home interiors for an eco-friendly, non-toxic alternative such as ECOS Paints. The brand, which has a 35-year history of offering VOC- and odor-free paints and stains in virtually any color, uses sustainable ingredients and can deliver directly to a home or business. To learn more, visit ecospaints.net.

“We want people to feel good about what they are bringing into their homes. This is why we are transparent about ingredients and VOC testing results,” says Julian Crawford, ECOS Paints CEO.

• Keep airborne dust to a minimum: Dust carries a variety of contaminants, including bacteria and allergens. Mop and dust often using a wet mop and dust cloth. Vacuum often as well using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which traps small particles.

• Eliminate moisture from the air: Moisture promotes mold, which can cause serious health problems when left unabated. Reduce moisture by eliminating sources of water leaks, installing exhaust fans in kitchens, using air conditioning, and positioning dehumidifiers in high-moisture rooms such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. 

• Reduce airborne particles: Install an air purifier to trap irritating particles, including mold, pollen and pet dander, which are particularly bad for people with respiratory problems like asthma. Brush pets often -- outdoors if possible -- and give pets regular baths.

• Decrease dirty air: Replace HVAC filters regularly. While the optimal frequency that you perform this task depends on the type of filter, the number of pets at home and other factors, a good reference point is the manufacturer’s guidelines.

When it comes to creating a healthy home sanctuary, taking steps to manage the most common indoor air pollutants should be a top priority.

Photo Credit: Interior by Lisa Tharp. Photo by Michael J. Lee.