Our home is meant to protect us from the outside. However, most people don’t realize that our homes don’t always protect us from air pollutants. In fact, they can be a source of many toxins and irritants. A combination of pollutants such as dust, dander, mold, smoke, and chemicals are round-the-clock air offenders in our homes.
Below are 14 hacks to reduce air pollution in your home. With a few simple and affordable adjustments, you can make your home a much safer breathing space.
14 Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution at Home
- Don’t wait six months to replace your filter.
- Keep your air purifier going all night.
- Don’t rely on your purifier’s auto-sensor.
- Dilute indoor pollutants with fresh air.
- Air out your home one room at a time.
- Shield your home from outside invaders.
- Keep things at a sizzle.
- Turn on extractor fans or cooking hoods.
- Out with the old (dust traps).
- Watch out for candles and incense.
- Fans and purifiers offer the one-two punch.
- Opt for safer paints and cleaners.
- Avoid smoking.
- Feed your humidifier with distilled water.
1. Don’t wait six months to replace your filter.
Most air purifiers will recommend that you replace the filters every six months. That’s not always the case. If you’re in a city as polluted as Beijing, you’ll have to change the filters much earlier. Don’t rely on the recommendations of the air filter manufacturers. Test the effectiveness of your filters you by using an air quality monitor and replace them as needed.
2. Keep your air purifier going all night.
People often switch off their air purifier at night due to the noise level. We assume that running it during the day will sufficiently keep the air clean through the night. However, when the purifier is off, air pollutants can flood your home within minutes. Before going to sleep, double check that windows are closed and switch the purifier to the highest setting you can tolerate (regarding the noise). Light noise pollution from the purifier is better for you than air pollution.
3. Don’t rely on your purifier’s auto-sensor.
Tests show that a purifier’s built-in auto-sensor is not always accurate. As a result, a purifier’s auto-mode may not clean the air to safe levels inside your home, especially on polluted days. Don’t rely on the auto-sensor. Check if your machine can adequately purify your air by using an air quality monitor.
4. Dilute indoor pollutants with fresh air.
When the AQI is below 50, increase your ventilation by opening windows and doors, and turning on fans. This will bring in fresh outdoor air to dilute the emissions from indoor pollutants. This is especially important for newly renovated or furnished interiors, as it allows VOCs and CO2 to escape out of your home.
5. Air out your home one room at a time.
Even on smoggy days, you should open the windows for at least ten minutes. The air may not be clean for the first few minutes, but it is important to let in some fresh air and let out yesterday’s stale air. Air out each room one at a time to avoid filling your entire apartment with smog particles. Once you close your windows, your purifier should be able to bring air quality levels back down within minutes.
6. Shield your home from outside invaders.
Even the best purifiers cannot protect your home if it is not well insulated or sealed. To help shield your home there are simple fixes that don’t require expensive updates. A quick run to the hardware store will usually suffice.
Attach draft stoppers underneath drafty doors and tape windows edges where there are drafts. These small changes can make a big difference and help improve the efficiency of your purifier.
7. Keep things at a sizzle.
When researching and developing the Laser Egg, our founder Liam Bates was shocked to learn one surprising fact about lung cancer in China: housewives made up a large demographic of those diagnosed with lung cancer.
This could be attributed to cooking in an enclosed environment. Cooking at high temperatures releases a formidable amount of smoke and VOCs which can become a source of pollution inside the home. Cooking at lower temperatures will reduce these pollutants.
8. Turn on extractor fans or cooking hoods.
Two common sources of indoor air pollution come from cooking fumes and mold. Use a cooking hood to expel the toxic by-products released from cooking at high temperatures. Additionally, an extractor fan will reduce humidity levels and prevent mold from spreading.
9. Out with the old (dust traps).
Hard to reach surfaces generally have a lot more dust and allergens trapped around them. To check, give items a good slap and see if a dust plume floats up. If it does, consider treating or tossing these items.
10. Watch out for candles and incense.
Candles and incense may bring a sense of calm around the home, but not when it comes to air quality. The smoke emitted from both can release carbon dioxide and diminish the air quality in your home (no matter what materials they are made of). When you blow out a candle, make sure to open a window or increase air circulation before closing your windows and turning on your purifiers.
11. Fans and purifiers offer the one-two punch.
Even the most powerful purifiers sometimes cannot reach every corner of the room. Introduce a ceiling fan (or even a portable fan) to complement your purifier and ensure higher air quality. Talk about a dream team.
12. Opt for safer paints and cleaners.
Cleaners, paints, and furniture are the most common sources of harmful VOCs inside the home. They lead to serious health issues. To avoid these harmful chemicals, first, read the ingredient labels. When possible, always opt for natural household products and cleaners.
Here is a helpful guide to help you introduce more natural ingredients to your home.
13. Avoid smoking.
Burning a cigarette or e-cigarette releases dangerous VOCs in the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene. To pollution-proof your home, the best option is to avoid smoking.
As a smoker, stepping outside for a cigarette break will keep indoor pollution levels at bay, but there may still be lingering outdoor chemicals on your clothes. If you must smoke indoors, make sure to open windows and to turn on a fan to help expel toxins, before resuming the purifier and closing the windows.
14. Feed your humidifier with distilled water.
Cranking up a humidifier will increase your home’s comfort when the air is quite dry. However, using tap water laced with chemicals can do more harm than good. Your humidifier will spew these pollutants back into the air. There are products, such as purifiers that offer purification or heating before dispersing humidity, that can help to mitigate this. When possible, always opt to use distilled water in your humidifier.
A truly pollution-proof home
It’s important to be proactive and monitor your indoor air, especially if you’re among those who are more heavily impacted by indoor air quality. Be aware of any ventilation issues and take steps to protect yourself. The reality is: you can’t solely rely only on your air purifier to protect you from air pollutants in your home.
Many home hacks will reduce airborne allergens and irritants. However, whether you’re an airborne allergy sufferer or live in a polluted city, it is worth considering products that can help double down your efforts to achieve the cleanest air possible. If you’re really serious about making sure your home is pollution-proof, consider using complementary tools in addition to humidifiers, natural household products, and air purifiers. Learn more about tech gadgets that will protect your home against air pollutants
Article by Christine Johnson