4 Ways To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality & Breathe Easier
By Julian Cox (bio below)
There is a good chance the air you breathe in your home is abundant in harmful gases. These gases could be wreaking havoc on your respiratory system by further aggravating your or a loved one’s asthma and allergies.
These three gases can have a direct impact on your respiratory health if found in high concentrations indoors:
- Formaldehyde – this study found a correlation between formladyhyde and childhood asthma.
- Toluene & acetaldehyde – exposure to these two gasses is associated with a high rate of asthma according to this study.
- Xylene – a VOC found in solvents.
How do these gases make their way into your home? They are found in building materials, cleaning products, carpeting, cosmetics, paints, synthetic fragrances, cigarette smoke, waxed paper, and pressed wood products.
Related Post: How Home Renovation Affects Allergies and Eczema
Another gas to be aware of is CO2. Every expired breath from your mouth or nose releases an unhealthy amount of it into your air. If you were in a small room sealed up tight for several hours you could die from your own breath because it is lacking a large percentage of the oxygen it first contained upon inspiration. Pure, fresh air that rejuvenates and vitalizes you is composed of 21 percent oxygen. Even the slightest degradation of such equals unhealthy and impure air.
Did you know that a high concentration of CO2 in your air can do such things as:
- Induce drowsiness
- Inhibit concentration
- Impair cognitive function
- Contribute to headaches
The longer you are present in a space with poor air, the less you will notice the degradation of your air quality. Initially, if you were to step in from outside to indoors, you would notice an obvious difference in the growing odor lingering in the air, but the longer you are exposed to it, it will dull your sense of smell. This occurs when CO2 concentration levels rise between 12 parts per 10,000 and higher. At this level of concentration your air is considered to be very bad.
How to Clean Your Indoor Air
You’re probably wondering what is the best method to improve the quality of your indoor air? The following all are beneficial for removing gasses from your indoors:
Windows hold the power to unleash a flood of fresh, rejuvenating, and vitalizing oxygen into your household or barricade you up in your own personal gas chamber. Ventilation is the easiest, healthiest and most powerful method of purifying your air as well as significantly reducing those concentrated levels of harmful gases. It doesn’t get any easier than this. It is due to the lack of this that so many fatalities have occurred from poor indoor air quality. Without exchanging degraded, poisonous, foul air with fresh air full of its 21 percent value of oxygen, you cannot purify your air.
However, in order to achieve the full benefit of the fresh air in your home you must make sure to create cross ventilation or else you are just mixing fresh air with impure air. Without cross ventilation it does not take very long for degraded air to become more concentrated than the fresh air coming in. Cross ventilation is an application of windward and leeward. First you get a grasp on which side of the house the wind is blowing (windward) and open the windows and next you do the same on the side of the house it is not blowing (leeward) and open the windows. Put the two together and you achieve cross ventilation. Did you know that it is necessary for each adult present in a room or building to receive 3,500 cubic feet of fresh air on an hourly basis or at least 1 cubic foot of fresh air per second? That is exactly what it takes to reduce the high concentration of CO2 in your air down to 2 parts per 10,000, which is considered a safe level.
What do you do if you live in an area where the outdoor air is heavily polluted? Depending on the type of pollution and how high it is – such as from nearby factories – it’s helpful to open the windows and ventilate for short durations off and on. It’s also highly advisable to have an abundance of plants inside, perhaps with a dehumidifier to keep extra moisture in check if the windows are always or often kept shut.
If you suffer from outdoor allergens and are hesitant to open your windows then it is highly advisable that you consider ventilating during the seasons when your allergens are not present.
It is also important that you purchase the type of plants that will purify your air as well as help reduce the concentration of those harmful gases that you live with. Potted palms are a great choice!
Related Post: Salt Therapy, A Natural Remedy for Eczema and Asthma
3. Activated Charcoal
Consider adding an activated charcoal filter to your home ventiliation or heating/air conditioning system. Or for smaller areas, try individual sachets full of activated charcoal like these.
4. Think Twice About Air Purifiers
While I am not a big promoter of air purifiers, neither am I completely against them. But they are a bit misleading as air purifiers do not purify your air as you might expect. In my new book, Air Purifiers Exposed, I explain why you should consider looking beyond air purifiers for more powerful ways to help remedy your asthma, allergies as well as indoor air quality issues.
Collier Engineer Co. (1899) A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities. New York: Press of Eaton & Maines.
Ministry of Education (2007) Designing Quality Learning Spaces: Ventilation & Indoor Quality Air
Science Daily (September 9, 2009) Houseplants Cut Indoor Ozone.
Bio: Julian Cox is an AADP Certified Health Coach with a diploma in Colour Therapy. He graduated with high honors from the American Intercontinental University in 2010 with a B.A. in Human Resource Management. As a disabled veteran that has spent years turning his chronic neuropathy around without the use of drugs for the last 6 years of the 9 he has had this, he is very passionate about helping others to improve their own health. You can find out more about him and his coaching program at Seize it Health Matters.