Every year, illnesses caused by household air pollution from incomplete combustion of fuels used for cooking, like kerosene and biomass, claim the lives of 3.2 million people, according to The World Health Organization. Many people believe that indoor air quality in homes is cleaner than outdoor air, and preventing outside air from seeping into living spaces can help reduce pollution. Unfortunately, these assumptions aren’t true because indoor air is highly polluted and poor ventilation increases pollutants and energy consumption.
Typically, moving to a well-designed energy efficient building helps you manage a home’s indoor air quality effortlessly. However, there are several ways to reduce the impact of indoor air pollution even if your home doesn’t feature energy-efficient designs. Below are the best tips to improve indoor air quality without sacrificing energy efficiency.
Use Natural Ventilation Strategies
Natural ventilation strategies rely on wind and buoyancy to enhance air circulation and cool buildings. For example, opening a window at night during summer is an easy way to let fresh air in your home. The cool air then pushes pollutants outside and creates a cooling effect inside the building without artificial cooling equipment.
Other effective natural ventilation strategies include the chimney effect and allowing the cooling sea breeze to ventilate homes through large, operable windows facing the ocean. The chimney effect uses convention, where cool air enters the home in the basement or first floor, absorbs hot air, rises and escapes through upper floor windows.
Add Indoor Plants
Findings from a study on the impact of indoor plants on air quality published in the Air Quality Atmosphere and Health Journal reveal that plants can reduce nitrogen dioxide, a common pollutant, by up to 20%. Since plants absorb pollutants and release oxygen, they are a perfect option for purifying indoor air. Plants also increase humidity and reduce dust levels, thus improving indoor air quality.
Popular plants that people add to their living spaces, like the pothos plant, peace lily, English ivy, and bamboo palm plants, are effective in improving indoor air quality. However, you can add to your indoor plant collection house plants with fuzzy leaves, such as the green goddess, pussy willow, chenille plant, lamb’s ears, and old man cactus.
The leaves of these indoor plants have tiny hairs on the surface that give them a velvety texture. Besides adding character to your space while improving air quality, these plants are low maintenance. That’s because the tiny hairs also help plants draw moisture from the air, so they can survive on regular spritzes of clean water.
Replace Filters in AC Systems Regularly
Your AC filters play a significant role in trapping pet dander, pollen, dust, and spores to keep indoor air clean. But as dust and other pollutants accumulate on air filters, your AC stops circulating clean air in your home, thus increasing pollution. When air filters are dirty, your AC works harder and consumes a lot of energy. With this in mind, changing your air filters regularly helps enhance air quality and keep your AC system working efficiently.
Contrary to popular belief, indoor air isn’t cleaner or healthier than the air outside. Also, allowing fresh air from outdoors to infiltrate your house doesn’t push energy bills up. With this in mind, using natural ventilation strategies is one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality without sacrificing energy efficiency. Other practices for improving your home’s air quality include adding house plants and changing AC air filters regularly.