5 Ways to Improve Your Apartment’s Indoor Air Quality
If you have an apartment in a major urban center, chances are you have a front row seat on how mankind’s actions pollute the atmosphere. There’s been over one hundred years of damage done, with millions of cars on the roads, major manufacturing creating near constant waste, and the energy needs of billions of people launching black clouds of smog into the air. Your natural reaction is probably to close the windows, thinking you’re safe from all of those damaging toxins. But you might be shocked to hear that the air inside your apartment could be even more polluted than the air outside. Chemicals, dust, allergens and other toxins hang out in your apartment, stuck on the furniture, the curtains, the carpeting and even coating the paint on the walls. So what’s to be done about it? Here are five ways to improve your apartment’s indoor air quality.
First of all, you’ve got to quit smoking cigarettes. Forget about the chemicals spewing out of the thousands of tailpipes on the street below. You’re actually doing more damage to the air quality in your apartment with cigarette smoke. Did you know that in addition to nicotine, cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxic chemicals? Outside of contributing to cancer, cigarette smoke sticks to all the materials in your house, and secondhand smoke can cause a wide range of health problems in adults and children. If you absolutely cannot quit, at least do your smoking outdoors.
You can also improve the air quality in your home by sticking to a strict cleaning regimen. This is especially important if you have carpeting. Chemicals can hang out on those fibers for years, exposing all of the residents to pollens, pet dander, dust mites and all sorts of other nastiness. Get yourself a professional grade vacuum with a HEPA filter, which will filter the air while it cleans. Go over all of the carpets two or three times a week, and vacuum all of the curtains and furniture as well.
Some people attempt to improve the air quality by using fragrance-filled air deodorizers. But you’re actually doing more damage than you might think. Those carpet cleaners, air fresheners, furniture polishes and laundry detergents are packed with chemicals which all impact your lungs. The plug-in air fresheners you see advertised all the time on television actual emit toxic chemicals into the air, so no matter how clean they smell, it’s all a farce. Open the windows to get the air flowing, and go with natural additions such as potted plants or baking soda to freshen the room.
Radon is one of the deadliest chemicals that could be floating through the air, and it usually comes in from the property around your apartment. It doesn’t matter how old or new the construction, it may still be present. Ask your building manager about the frequency of testing for radon, to make sure that it’s being considered. If they don’t take care of that you can actually do the test yourself. Check out the EPA’s website for a guidebook on how to do this.
Finally, consider the humidity in your apartment. Humid air may make your skin feel nice and soft, but it also attracts dust mites and creates the perfect environment for the formation of mold. You can control things by using an exhaust fan in the kitchen while cooking, and bringing in a dehumidifier during the winter months. Check in with Mitsubishi ductless dealers about air conditioning options as well. Running a window a/c unit could cause humidity if it isn’t draining properly, but the right central air unit can manage humidity levels and keep things where they need to be.