Air quality indoor - Are you safe in your house?

Currently, the popularization of the Internet, the availability of smartphones apps and the growing number of devices monitoring air quality facilitate access to information, making more and more people pay attention to the problem of air pollution. What's more, the media in order to meet society needs raise topics related to the environment, its impact on health and the quality of air itself. This increases awareness about the problem. When we are outside, we protect ourselves with personal protection accessories, such as anti-pollution scarves.

Information in the media focuses on external threats, which are measured by a network of sensors and measuring stations, but this data is also incomplete, because the air quality is a very local phenomenon, which differs from intersection to intersection. We are also unable to monitor this happening inside our homes or offices, and we spend most of the day in them. Every day, doing household chores, cooking, resting, sleeping or spending time with loved ones, we breathe the air accumulated there.

Air pollution in the home

We consider the house a safe place, free from threats. However, hardly anyone has a home air quality sensor, and only a small number of air conditioners and air purifiers are equipped with such devices. Lack of information causes low awareness of the problem.

Pollution in our homes can come from both outside and inside. Those coming from outside penetrate not only through open windows, but also through ventilators, ventilation ducts and leaky seals in windows and doors. The problem occurs not only in winter due to the prevailing smog phenomenon, but also in summer, because industry, power plants and transport operate continuously throughout the year, generating pollution particles. This also applies to harmful dusts and substances from car exhaust.

There are many potential sources of pollution inside our homes. The adhesives used for furniture and equipment release harmful formaldehyde for a long time. Abrasive carpets, working office machines, cleaning products or smoked cigarettes can emit benzene, ammonia, acetone or toluene. Cooking meals increases the humidity of the air, and the gas burned by the ovens turns into carbon monoxide, which can be very dangerous if the ventilation system is out of order. In addition, the very presence of humans causes an increase in the amount of CO2 in the air, and the naturally abrading epidermis deposits in the form of dust.

How to deal with pollution at home? Here are some ways that can help improve air quality:

Proper ventilation of the apartment

When the air quality is better, opening several windows for a short time will create a short draft and ventilate the rooms. This will allow you to quickly improve the quality of air in the apartment without excessive cooling of the interior on chilly days. Opening windows during high levels of outdoor air pollution can be counterproductive, which is why it is important to monitor air quality on your smartphone apps or on the internet.

Apartment cleaning

After ventilating the rooms, get rid of dirt that accumulates together with dust. It's best to wipe them off with a standard, damp cloth. Consider minimizing the use of chemical agents as the ammonia they contain may irritate the respiratory system. When cleaning floors, a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will be the best, as it will effectively stop dirt inside the device. Thick rugs and heavy curtains easily accumulate dust, allergens and promote the development of mites. It is worth considering getting rid of them from home.

Air purifiers

An effective way to improve air quality is to use an air purifier. Depending on the installed filtration system, it will remove most of the harmful dust from the air in the room. The air sucked in by the built-in fan is filtered through a system of absorbing filters, and released from the device free of particles harmful to our body.

The degree of effectiveness of the device depends on the class and type of filters used by the manufacturer. Carbon filters neutralize unpleasant odors, catch PM2.5 and PM10 dust, dust, hair, allergens, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen and carbon oxides and ozone in the air. HEPA filters with H13 and H14 markings retain up to 99.9% of impurities up to 0.3 micrometers, such as fine dust, dust, allergens and even bacteria and mold spores - unfortunately they do not filter volatile organic compounds. There are also devices on the market equipped with an air ionizer or a UV lamp to support cleaning.

When choosing a purifier, it is worth choosing its efficiency to the size of the room and pay attention to additional functions, regulation of the degree of purification, air quality indicator or volume of operation and the ability to operate in silent mode so that it does not disturb the household members at night. The purchase of such a device is an expense of several hundred to several thousand zlotys.

Potted Plants

Potted plants have a positive effect on home air quality. Although plants cannot cope with all impurities, because they cannot absorb and neutralize the dust contained in the smog, they enrich the atmosphere of our homes with oxygen, increase humidity, additionally capture dust and absorb harmful substances including formaldehyde, benzene or acetone.

Research conducted in 1989 by scientists from NASA confirmed the effectiveness of green pot plants in cleaning the air. They selected a list of 18 species most effective in air purification. The greater the number of plants in the interior, the better.

Scientists recommend placing at least one plant per 10 square meters. With limited space, the solution can be to place small plants on shelves or to create a "green wall" in the form of a vertical garden in the interior. Such solutions will not only have a positive impact on air quality, but also can be a stylish addition in the interior.

Prices of the most popular houseplants start from a few bucks and their care is not demanding. Keep in mind that some plants may contain toxic substances that are harmful to pets or young children (when chewing or licking).

Optimal air humidity

The optimum indoor air humidity should be between 40 and 60% depending on the air temperature. Too dry air can cause itching and burning of the skin, scratching of the esophagus which is not the result of a cold. Higher humidity can be obtained by the aforementioned increase in the number of plants in the interior that evaporate water, hanging wet towels or washing. During the heating season, you can use simple humidifiers in the form of simple water containers placed on radiators. If the room is still too dry - it would be a good idea to invest in an air humidifier or air purifier with built-in humidification.

Too high humidity exceeding 60% can promote the development of mold and fungi. So if the humidity is too high, first of all check the ventilation system in the kitchen and bathroom. When this is not enough, an air dryer can be useful.

Air temperature

The right temperature in your room has a big impact on your mood. The optimum temperature inside living quarters should be around 21-22 degrees C. In such conditions, the household members do not feel lethargic and tired. Too high temperature and maximum spinning of radiators during the heating season contributes to a decrease in air humidity, deterioration of well-being and will negatively affect the quality of sleep at night. The temperature in the bedroom may be even lower and amount to about 18 degrees, while the warmest room should be a bathroom, where the thermometer can show up to 25 degrees.