Indoor air quality is a bigger problem than most people realize. While outdoor issues are often visually apparent in haze, smog, and smoke, factors in indoor air quality go unnoticed. Here are a few tips on how you can overhaul your home’s indoor air quality.

Improve Ventilation

air condition vent in office ceiling close up

Many Floridians keep their homes shut tight. If your AC is running, that may be a good thing (see the next suggestion), but if it’s not, particles are being trapped indoors with you and you’re also inviting mold when you trap warm, moist air. Keep the air moving through use of fans and make sure your filters are clean and changed based on manufacturer’s suggestions.

Ventilation is especially important when you’re cleaning. You may not even realize that the chemicals that keep your home “clean” are polluting your home’s air quality. Floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and polishes can introduce and stir up particles that irritate the lungs. For this reason it is important to either select an environmentally-friendly cleaner or keep air circulating during cleaning.

Use Your AC

Your air conditioner removes water from the atmosphere in your home. Since many irritants are water-soluble, this can help improve air quality. Quality air filters on your AC system can also trap mold, allergens, and other irritants.

Install a HEPA filter

If your AC system is designed to handle a HEPA filter, then installing one of these disposable filters can improve the air quality in your home. Another option is a UV filter or installing a UV purification system (although the latter is not a DIY fix).

If you’re using a HEPA filter to reduce contaminants, you should also look at the sources such as pet dander and dust mites. These things settle into soft areas like mattresses and pillows. Using protective shields on those can help.

Ventilate Gas Stoves

While you may not realize it, if you’re cooking with gas you risk a nitrogen dioxide build up in your kitchen. Opening your window a bit near the kitchen or turning on the exhaust fan can help dissipate these noxious fumes.

Bring in the Green

While it may be hard to believe, there are plants that help improve indoor air quality. Plants like English Ivy, Mother-in-law Tongue (Snake Plant), and the Bamboo Palm not only clean up the natural pollutants in our air but also some of those we bring into our lives in our furniture and their chemical treatments, such as Formaldehyde.

If you think the air quality of your home is excellent because you and your family don’t suffer from any breathing issues, think again. Many energy efficient buildings that are sealed well trap toxins that we use to clean our homes and decorate rooms. Taking the extra time to ensure these contaminants are doing as little harm as possible to your family’s health is a good step.