Indoor air quality can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing. Exposure to contaminants and allergens such as dust, mould, and pollution may not seem like a big deal.
We are surrounded by these outside every day, right? But over time these can pose a threat to you and your family.
While we often concern ourselves with outdoor air pollution, have you ever stopped to think about how clean the air is inside your home?
While it’s something we don’t usually think about, good indoor air quality is essential for our health.
Why is air quality important?
Outdoor air quality affects our health, the liveability of our cities and towns, and our environment and air pollution can cause health problems that harm the heart and lungs, and can even cause cancer.
The air quality of indoor environments also impacts liveability and health in similar ways.
Having a knowledge of the common pollutants such as dust, pollen, mould, smoke, dust mites, dander and volatile organic compounds that are present indoors can help reduce the risk of several health concerns for you and your family.
Signs of poor air quality
There are a number of different symptoms which signify poor indoor air quality. This includes:
● Frequent experience of cold-like symptoms such as dry eyes and a sore throat
● Allergies and sneezing
● Dampness and mould throughout the home
11 Ways To Reduce Your Emissions at Home
It is extremely important that as a global community we all take steps to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. There are a number of ways you can do this in your everyday life. Many are to do with lifestyle choices that we won’t look at here.
What we do want to bring to light is what you can do in your home to reduce emissions. Most of these are very easy and can make a huge difference in the long run. Let’s take a look.
There are many things you can do to reduce your emissions at home in order to do your part for the environment. Most are very easy.
Check Your Insulation
Poorly insulated homes will require far more energy to heat. If you live in an older home, it is a good idea to check what kind of insulation you have, and consider how this can be updated if necessary.
This doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – there are DIY insulation options that are very effective and affordable.
For example, if you can access underneath your floors, you may be able to pack insulation (such as foam) between the joists.
Change Your Lightbulbs
Energy efficient light bulbs are a slightly larger investment when you buy them, but they use far less energy in the long run. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs are better options than incandescent bulbs.
And if everyone makes the switch, it can eliminate a huge amount of greenhouse gas.
Upgrade Your Water Heating
Older gas and oil boilers are extremely inefficient and can be hugely wasteful when it comes to energy consumption.
Consider upgrading your boiler – this will require an upfront investment, but you will save money in the long run, and help reduce your emissions significantly.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
Those star ratings on your appliances aren’t just a marketing tool – they actually mean something.
While all modern appliances need to meet a certain standard to make their way into the market, the more stars, the more energy efficient your appliance will be.
Although those with more stars are more expensive, they will save you money in the long run and are much more environmentally friendly.
Consider Ways You Can Use You Appliances Less
Sure, we buy appliances because they make life more convenient. But do you sometimes use yours unnecessarily? Do you use your dryer when you could just as easily sun dry.
Do you put a load of dishes on when the dishwasher is basically empty, or when you could have washed them by hand? Do you use your heater or fan when the temperature is actually quite nice?
Think about all the ways you can use your appliances less and get into better habits. You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact this can make.
Use Lights Less
If you’re in the habit of leaving lights on unnecessarily, make a conscious effort to switch them off when they aren’t being used. The same goes for electronics like computers, TVs, and stereos – switch them off when not in use. Even when on standby these things consume quite a lot of energy.
Seal Your Doors and Windows
Seal your windows – a lot of heat is lost through windows, often through small cracks and gaps. Sealing these is a cheap and effective way to save energy.
The same goes for doors. Snakes are cheap and a really great way to stop the passage of air between rooms and indoors/outside. Grab yourself a few and use them where possible.
Consider Investing In Renewable Energy
If it’s within your means, consider investing in renewable sources of energy like solar power. Solar panels can be expensive but they are extremely sustainable.
Take Short Showers Not Baths
A large portion of the energy used by households is for heating water used for bathing and showering.
Showering uses significantly less water than bathing and is a far more energy efficient option. When you do take a shower, keep it short.
On a similar note, try and limit all running hot water, such as when you are brushing your teeth, cleaning your face, or wet shaving.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Get into good habits with recycling everything you can and reducing your overall waste. Buy products with minimal packaging to reduce waste. Compost what you can. Recycle your clothes. Think sustainably!
Keep Your Air Conditioning Unit In Top Condition
Regularly cleaning maintaining your AC system will help ensure it is running at maximum efficiency and not wasting any energy unnecessarily.
Bonus Ways To Improve Air Quality In Your Home
The air quality in your immediate environment can have a huge impact on your health.
Symptoms of health problems caused by poor indoor air quality are often subtle, ranging from the sniffles and itchy eyes to a cough you cannot shake or irritated skin.
Some people are more sensitive than others, but everybody should be concerned about the air quality in their home. Here are some easy ways you can make some improvements.
Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean
If you have an air conditioner, it is important to keep it spotless to ensure you’re not circulating contaminants throughout your home. The easiest (and most efficient) way to this is to clean your air filters every other month.
Their purpose is to filter the air that passes in and out of your HVAC system and they collect small particles of contaminants that may affect the health and wellbeing of you, your family or your employees, including dust, dirt, pollen, mould, lint, and other fibres, bacteria, hair or animal fur, and particles of wood, metal or plastics.
Simply remove the filter and vacuum or brush it thoroughly (outside). Keep an eye out for any holes, wrinkles, or tears – these mean that your filter needs replacing.
Consider Buying Some Indoor Plants
There are some indoor plant varieties that can help improve air quality by absorbing harmful toxins from the air. In fact, NASA recommends two or three plants in 8 to 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet.
Different plants are suitable for different environments. So do some research into what the right kind is for you. Some plants you may want to look into include:
● Spider plants
● Golden pothos
● Bamboo palms
● Rubber plants
● Peace lilies
● Boston ferns
● Aloe vera
Clean Your Home Regularly To Remove Dust Mites
Dust mites are one of the most common contributors to poor indoor air quality. These are microscopic creatures that are particularly common in humid and coastal parts of Australia.
They often live in bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing and are one of the most common allergen triggers for asthma. Be sure to clean these items regularly to help remove dust mites from your home. A few tips:
● Open your curtains and windows and air out your home regularly
● Wash sheets and pillowcases with low allergenic washing soap in a hot wash (above 55 degrees)
● Vacuum carpets and soft furniture weekly
● Dust regularly using a damp or electrostatic cloth
Consider an Air Purifier
If you live in a particularly polluted area, or if you or your family is sensitive to poor air quality, you may want to consider investing in an electric air purifier.
These devices remove contaminants from the air in a room such as dust, pollen, pet hair, mold spores, and dust mite feces, smoke particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Ditch The Aerosols
Cleaning and personal products that come in an aerosol can contain VOCs like butane and propane which are bad for air quality. Try ditching these for non-aerosol alternatives like roll-on deodorant and spray bottle cleaning products.
Level of Humidity In Your Home
Dust mites and mould love humid environments. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% is ideal so consider purchasing a dehumidifier or an air conditioner during summer months to help control these levels.
Other ways to reduce the humidity in your home include airing out areas that are particularly moist like bathrooms, laundry and kitchen, using exhaust fans where possible, fixing any leaky plumbing, avoiding overwatering houseplants.
Improving indoor air quality with air conditioning
Air conditioning is one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality. It works by removing pollutants and moisture from the air, limiting the amount you breathe in as well as the general dampness of your home and improving ventilation.
AC systems create constant air-flow around the home, which also improves air quality.
In order to keep your AC system working at its best, it is important to regularly clean and change filters. It is also important that you clean the ductwork, so that mould and other pollutants do not accumulate.
Contact HunterCON today!
If you are curious about how an air conditioner or appliance will help improve the air quality in your home, get in touch with HunterCON today.
HunterCON is a fully licensed electrical and air conditioning specialists located in Sydney’s Inner West, servicing the greater metropolitan area, including the Eastern Suburbs, Lower North Shore and South West.
With over nine years of experience, we pride ourselves on providing air-con and electrical services of the highest quality.