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How to Improve Air Quality in the Home
by Ruby Bayan

Use HEPA air purifiers The quality of the air we breathe largely affects our state of health. People who are sensitive to dust, mold spores and pollen need to keep indoor conditions clean and fresh to prevent allergic reactions. With most of our homes practically sealed to optimize heating and cooling, maintaining healthy air quality becomes an important task. Here are some tips on how to improve air quality in our homes.

What you'll need:

Household cleaners
Air filters
Air purifier

What to do:

1. Clean the house regularly. Indoor air quality is largely determined by what we keep inside the house. Doing regular housecleaning removes dust, tracked-in soil, trash, spoiled food and other unwanted sources of odor and dirt.

2. Eliminate and prevent molds and mildew. One of the major culprits of poor air quality in the home is the presence of molds and mildew. Check for water leaks and constantly moist areas in the home and address any mold-and-fungus situations immediately.

3. Groom furry animals outside the home. Animal hair, feathers and dander contribute to poor indoor air quality. If you're keeping furred or feathered pets indoors, dust and vacuum diligently.

4. Keep doors and windows closed during pollen season. Especially in the spring and fall when pollen count is high, keep doors and windows shut to minimize infiltration of allergy-inducing plant particles.

5. Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters that catch even the smallest particles are now standard in some vacuum cleaner models. HEPA filters are also an option for forced-air handlers of furnaces or central heating and cooling systems. Remember to replace filters regularly, and schedule periodic inspection and cleaning of air ducts and vents.

6. Install an air-purifying appliance. Households that have family members who are sensitive to airborne allergens benefit for air purifiers, which typically use HEPA and carbon filters to clean indoor air. Various types and sizes are available for different room areas and filtering requirements.

7. Consider using green materials, furnishings and décor. Eco-friendly home construction materials and furnishings minimize chemical pollutants that compromise indoor air quality.

Helpful Tips:

Use micro-fiber, "magnetic" dusters or a damp rag to dust the house to avoid sending dust particles into the air.

Aerosol air fresheners also help improve air quality in the home by trapping and neutralizing odor molecules.

Enforce a no smoking rule inside the house.

Avoid using cleaning solutions and products that have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or chemical gases that pollute the air and pose health hazards.

References:

EPA: Guide to Indoor Air Quality
The Technology of Air Purifiers


Contributed to eHow.com by Ruby Bayan, Home & Garden Topic Expert 2007-2010

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