1. Air Purifiers
Lately, air purifiers have been competing with open windows for air quality control. Now, however, there is a compromise: window air purifiers. If you live in an area where outdoor pollution is significant, or if you suffer from hay fever or pollen allergies, this may be the answer for you. Window air purifiers fit into an open window like an exhaust fan or screen. Outside air comes through them, but it passes through a filter first, giving you the best of both worlds: fresh air from outside and clean air from a purifier.
2. Open Windows
That said, if you live in an area where the outside air is not a problem, open those windows. To get the best ventilation, open windows across from each other. This cross-ventilation effect works both within one room and between rooms.
3. Go to the Source
Educate yourself as to the possible pollutants in your home, and then take steps to remove them. For example:
* Your carpet is probably made from synthetic fibers and held in place with chemical adhesives. It is likely that your carpet is coated with some kind of chemical stain guard as well. Also, carpets are notorious harbingers of dust, animal hair and dander, and other household allergens. If possible, take up your carpet and discover the hardwood beneath, or put down natural flooring if none exists.
* Wallpaper glue can cause chemical sensitivity in some individuals. Using eco-friendly strippers or hot steam, remove the wallpaper and paint with eco-friendly paint devoid of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and synthetic pigments.
* Get rid of chemical-based cleaners which are made from substances that can cause respiratory and skin problems. Some of these toxic cleaners are potentially fatal if swallowed. Who needs these poisons around the home? Use eco-friendly cleaners that you make yourself (baking soda and white vinegar can meet most cleaning needs), or purchase green cleaners from stores.
4. Speaking of Green…
Festoon your home with green, indoor plants. These are nature’s air purifiers, and can be employed in conjunction with open windows. In fact, indoor plants thrive on fresh, outside air. And when you close your windows, the plants work all the time to exchange air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, and formaldehyde for healthy oxygen. Plant varieties to look for include English ivy, spider plant, peace lily, and various palms.
5. Clean Filters
Make sure the filters in your heating and cooling system are changed regularly. Purchase filters that are made to filter out as many chemicals and allergens as possible.
Now, take a deep breath and enjoy your new indoor air quality!