5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Home

Making sure the indoor air quality of your home is maintained is just as important as the food you put into your body! Make sure you take steps such as air quality monitoring, proper ventilation, and using purifiers to help you care for your family's health!
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We’re all spending a lot more time at home than usual, nowadays. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s less-than-ideal, but it certainly raises questions about the environment we’re living in.

Indoor air quality is an important, but often overlooked, element of our home. You might think that the nasty pollutants are hovering around outside near roads or power stations, but the truth is, indoor air pollution is more widespread than you would imagine.

There are a wide range of causes for poor indoor air quality. Those include natural problems like mould, mildew, and dust, alongside build-up from human interventions such as cooking, cleaning, and other activities.

In fact, cooking indoors with polluting fuels such as kerosene or wood is a major cause of illness that’s identified by the World Health Organization as causing up to four million deaths each year!

Don’t worry though, there's no need to panic! In Malaysia, thanks to our modern property stock, the challenge of burning polluting fuel is unlikely to be present in your home.

But, working to ensure clean air and a healthy environment is still important. Here are five top tips on how to improve the air quality in your home.

 

1) Embrace air quality monitoring

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The first step to improving air quality is understanding the environment you’re living in. Air quality monitoring is a great way to check how clean the air is, and any extra efforts you might need to take to tackle it. 

There are a wide range of affordable air quality monitors on the market today. They measure elements like carbon dioxide and particulate matter (pollutants in the air).

Sometimes, they're even able to pick up on things like chemicals, or more hard-to-detect types of pollutants in advanced models.

One of the most common standards in sensors is measuring particle size PM2.5; that’s 2.5 microns, or about 100 times thinner than a strand of human hair!

That might sound tiny and insignificant, but it’s a level of particulate matter often associated with high pollution and bad health.

Increasingly, you can find sensors that measure down to PM1, which is an even smaller measurement and will provide an even more sensitive monitor.

These sensors can be particularly useful during haze season (or if you live near a very busy road!) as they can help you identify when pollution from outside is penetrating your home, and potentially when it’s safe to have windows open or go out on the balcony for example!

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2) Tackle mould and mildew

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That bit of mould in the bathroom you keep forgetting to scrub away? It’s not great for your health. Mould and mildew can quickly build up, causing real problems for air quality in your home.

Both are both a type of fungus that grow in damp and dark environments. How do you differentiate them, though? Mould is commonly black in colour, whereas mildew tends to be lighter in colour, mostly white or grey.

Now, either one of them won't just sit there harmlessly doing nothing however, it can also release little spores into the air that you breathe in.

This, in turn, causes coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and long-term health impacts if exposed over a long period. If you’re talking clean air in the home, you can’t overlook the effect of mould and mildew.

Improving ventilation, using a dehumidifier, and actively tackling the build-up of mould and mildew with special cleaning products are some of the best ways to tackle them.

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3) Ventilate with vigour

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One of the simplest, but most effective ways to improve air quality, is with ventilation. This links closely to the importance of air quality monitoring, and providing an environment that reduces mould and mildew.

The simple act of opening even one window can have a huge impact on indoor air quality and health. We’ve all seen the importance of good ventilation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That logic doesn’t just apply to this one virus, but to many pollutants and potentially harmful particles in our home. Opening a window allows the fresh air in, and clears out any harmful particles that may have built up inside.

The best way to ventilate might depend on your home and window type, but generally speaking, opening up as many windows as possible to the outside to allow a throughflow of clean air is recommended!

With the help of your trusted air quality monitor, you should be able to test when the inside of your home needs a clear out, and when the air outside is safe enough to open windows for a good breezy cleanse!

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4) Purify with the power of machines!

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Ok, this sounds more dramatic than it is. Sadly, there’s no ultra-clean-air-robot ready to swoop down and save your home's air quality.

But scientists (the clever people they are!) have researched and developed various helpful technologies to improve the air quality in your home.

In fact, the best models of wall-mounted air-conditioning units often have them built in! If you want or need additional purifiers however, you can purchase freestanding units for your home.

These work by sucking air in and filtering it through advanced filtration systems that remove harmful particles, bacteria, and even viruses. Just like your air conditioner, these filters will require cleaning or replacement over time.

An important thing to remember about air purifiers, is that they’re designed for particular room sizes. A tiny filter won’t clean a massive room!

Always check the specifications to ensure you’re purchasing a filter that’s an appropriate size for your room and home needs. 

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6) Plant a seed of quality air

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Plants are a pleasingly natural way to improve air quality in your home. Research by NASA shows that they can remove toxic pollutants, breathing out fresh oxygen for a healthier indoor environment.

Plants also have the added advantage of being good for our mental health, since the natural feel and positive aesthetics provide a soothing feel to a room.

It’s important to recognise that while plants are great to have around the house, they’re not some magic natural bullet for air quality.

They filter air at a much lower rate, compared to other specialised interventions such as proper ventilation or air purifiers.

Some plants cleanse the air better than others, but it’s worth doing research on your selection, particularly if you have pets, as some plants can be toxic to animals.

When it comes to a positive indoor environment, plants are more impactful as a form of stress relief than clean air relief, but they’re still a welcome addition to any home!

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Want to explore a more pleasing home environment? Why not Check Out These 7 Living Room Design Ideas To Inspire You.

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