summertime indoor air quality

5 Ways to Clear the Air for Summer

The air in your house may not be as clean as it seems.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Nobody likes to live in filth, but according to a recent survey, we’re too concerned with the dirt that we see and not concerned enough about the filth we breathe in; namely, all the particles and chemicals floating in our indoor air. The survey, commissioned by 3M (a company that manufactures air filters), found that 73 percent of us are worried about mildew in our bathtubs and 69 percent, about bugs and mice, but only 40 percent are concerned about indoor air quality.

And that is concerning, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which frequently states that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, even in the largest, most industrialized cities. Indoor air-quality problems can vary season to season, since the sources of pollution are so varied, so here are a few ways of dealing with summer-sensitive air-quality issues:

1. Check your air filter.
Air conditioner filters (whether in a central-air system or a window unit) trap a lot of the junk that comes in from the outside—pollen, smoke, smog, and dirt—but they also filter out dust, dust mites, and pet dander that builds up in recirculated indoor air. Check your system’s filter once a month and either change it or clean it, depending on the type.
2. Open the windows.
We’ve gotten so good at weatherizing our homes that we’ve actually cut down on the exchange of bad air with good, and that leads to a buildup of VOCs, formaldehyde, and other compounds emitted by furniture, cleaners, and other household products. When it’s not too hot, leave the windows open and allow some fresh air in. When it gets hot enough to close them again, switch your air conditioner to recirculated air; it’s more energy-efficient, since you’re cooling already-cool air, and the filter you just cleaned/replaced will trap most of the pollutants that were blown inside.
3. Vacuum and damp-mop regularly.
Open windows bring in fresh air—and particles of dust and soot that can settle in carpets and on surfaces. Your AC’s filter can catch some of them, and a vacuum cleaner, preferably one with a HEPA filter, will catch the rest. Pesticides and household chemicals, such as brain-damaging PBDE flame retardants used in electronics, bind to dust and dirt as well, so a weekly damp-dusting session will keep them from getting stirred up and inhaled.
4. Control bugs with boric acid.
Spring and summer are prime times for pest-control problems. Rather than reach for that smelly ant spray, which likely contains pyrethrins that have been found to trigger headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks, use a less-toxic product like boric acid, which isn’t harmful unless eaten or directly inhaled. Better still, use “integrated pest management” techniques, such as caulking cracks where bugs enter, keeping trash bins tightly covered, and storing food in the pantry in airtight containers rather than the box or bag in which it was sold. If you have ants, wipe and mop surfaces frequently to disrupt their trails.
5. Go outside.
The best way to avoid health problems associated with indoor air is to leave it behind. The EPA says that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, which is a shame when outdoor activities give you the opportunity to breathe less-polluted air, and get some exercise in the process. Just be sure to check the EPA’s Air Quality Index and slather on the sunscreen before you head out on an excursion.


Published on: June 29, 2010

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fresh air

This is a topic I like. I added a little, green plants are very helpful to provide ever-fresh air. Although only the green grass or ornamental plants, these plants should in our homes...

Clear the AIR

Yea, Make smart choices to avoid creating air pollution such as choosing water-based paints, reducing your electricity usage and carpooling...thanks !!!
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Clear the Air!

Limit air pollution contributions. Make smart choices to avoid creating air pollution such as choosing water-based paints, reducing your electricity usage and carpooling. flowers online

Plants that supposedly improve indoor air quality

I remember spider plants and peace lilies supposedly improve the quality of the air. I grow pothos also, because it is hardy and likes being inside.

Breathing indoors and growing plants inside

Inside air quality is important to me because my husband has breathing problems and is my "canary in a coal mine."
I try to use unscented products when possible. Also, I try to avoid cleaners with strong smells. Even Murphy's Oil Soap, which I have always considered reasonably safe, has strong odors that bother my husband. I don't use Pine oil anymore for the same reason. We don't use scented candles either.
I have found that using diluted Dawn dishwashing liquid doesn't have strong smells and cleans well. Also, we use a diluted vinegar solution on our tile floors.
To me, one of the worst offenders is the so-called carpet fresheners people spray on carpet before vacuuming. I have allergies but good lungs, but that carpet freshener will run me out of a room.
I like having indoor plants, although I have read that the soil contains molds which are unhealthy for people with allergies. I have also read that one cannot have enough indoor plants to improve indoor air quality. I do not know if that is true.

Chemicals in the house

This has been a concern of mine all my adult life. My grandmother was a great thrift expert and taught me to clean with regular household things, such as baking soda, amonia, bleach, boric acid and such. Good old elbow grease was also on the list.
We also live in a one-hundred-year-old farmhouse that was built with interesting leftovers from a nearby town when they demolished tenement houses to build a high school. Consequently,
we have plenty of ventilation year round. We tried using air conditioners and found the closed-in feeling during the summer months uncomfortable, not to mention the noises, and have changed to ceiling fans that are much more tolerable.
We are both in our seventies, healthy, no medications except asperin on occation, as well as a son who lives with us and is doing well too.
I honestly believe our society is poisoning itself with the chemicals we use and the ultra-clean life style we lead.
Please keep sending out the good information about health!

indoor plants

Yes, my mother had one that she passed on to me, that has unfortunately been gathering dust in the basement. :-) Thanks for the plant name.

I remember one

The one I remember is Peace Lilies or Spathaphylum. I don't know if you are old enough to remember back in the 70's when everyone had a spider plant in a hanging pot with a macrame support with a tassel on it. LOL--they should be coming back into style any day now.

What about indoor plants?

What about specific indoor plants that can help to cut down on some of the indoor pollution as well? I remember reading an article about this awhile ago, but only remember one of the plants that is good at decreasing the unhealthy air inside the home. It was the spider plant. If anyone knows the others, I would appreciate it.

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