Indoor air quality is an important factor in maintaining a healthy home environment. Poor air quality can lead to respiratory diseases, allergies, and even viruses. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of health problems. The most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions.
This includes cleaning rugs and carpets regularly, using exhaust fans in bathrooms, and investing in air filters for HVAC systems. Air filters trap and block harmful particles from entering the interior space, and recirculation modes can be used if outdoor air quality is poor. Air cleaners and air purifiers can also help eliminate less serious contaminants. Portable air cleaners or box fan filters can be used during wildfire smoky days, when outdoor air is poor, or during indoor activities that may affect air quality.
The gold standard filter is a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA), which can remove 99.97 percent of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns in size and an even greater percentage of larger or smaller particles. In addition to mechanical solutions, indoor plants can also help freshen the air. NASA's 1989 Clean Air Study found that peace lilies, ferns, devil ivy, and spider plants are among the best at removing chemicals such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. Ventilation and air exchange are also key components of improving indoor air quality.
Most residential forced air heating systems and air conditioning systems do not bring outside air into the house mechanically, so natural infiltration and ventilation are relied on to bring outside air into the home. Certain laws set the amount of fresh air that must be drawn in to mix with the indoor air in your home. The effectiveness of an air filter depends on how well it picks up indoor air pollutants (expressed as a percentage of efficiency) and the amount of air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute).By following these steps, you can improve your indoor air quality and reduce your risk of health problems associated with poor indoor air quality.